The Geminid meteor shower is the strongest of the year, get ready to shoot it this week

Dec 12, 2023

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

The Geminid meteor shower is the strongest of the year, get ready to shoot it this week

Dec 12, 2023

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Join the Discussion

Share on:

Geminids meteor shower

The Geminids, the strongest meteor shower of the year, is just around the corner! This dazzling display is scheduled to peak on the night of Wednesday, December 13, into the early morning hours of Thursday, December 14. It’s cold, I know, but let me try and convince you why you should witness this spectacular show.

The Geminids get their name from the constellation of Gemini, or the Twins. On the night of the shower’s peak, the meteors will appear to emanate from a spot in the sky near the bright star Castor in Gemini. According to NASA, you can see 120 Geminid meteors per hour during the shower’s peak (under perfect conditions). That’s more than Perseids in August.

What makes the Geminids so special?

Unlike other meteor showers that originate from comets, the Geminids are believed to be debris from 3200 Phaëthon, an Earth-crossing asteroid. This makes the Geminids a truly unique astronomical phenomenon. Geminids typically move at 22 miles per second. For comparison, that’s roughly half the speed of a Leonid meteor, making them easier to see and enjoy.

Unlike some other meteor showers that mainly produce faint streaks, the Geminids are known for their diverse display, including bright, graceful meteors and dazzling fireballs. In other words, you’re more likely to see some truly spectacular “shooting stars”, making for a more memorable experience for observers and photographers alike. Many Geminids appear yellowish in color, and some even have the fascinating ability to form jagged or divided paths! Have I given you enough reasons to pack your gear, warm clothes, and blankets?

Where and when to observe

  • Best conditions: This year, the Moon has decided to cooperate. It will be a thin crescent on the peak night, setting early in the evening, leaving the sky dark and ideal for observing meteors.
  • Peak activity: The Geminids are predicted to peak at 2 p.m. EDT (1900 GMT) on December 13. This time favors observers in eastern Europe, northeast Africa, and parts of Asia. However, the good news is that the shower remains active for several hours around the peak. This means that observers in other parts of the world can still enjoy the show.
    Generally, the Geminids become more noticeable in the hours after 10 p.m. local time. The best views, however, come around 2 a.m. when the shower’s radiant point is highest in the sky.
  • Meteor counts: Under ideal conditions, you can expect to see at least 60 or even more Geminid meteors per hour during peak activity. Remember that light pollution can significantly reduce the number of visible meteors.

Important tips

  • Dress warmly: As I said, it’s December, and the nights are cold in the Northern Hemisphere. If you plan to spend a night outside and watch the meteor shower, make sure to bundle up in warm clothes, a sleeping bag, and/or blankets.
  • Find a dark location: Light pollution is your enemy when it comes to observing and photographing a meteor shower. So, plan a trip out of the city and find a location away from its lights.
  • Be patient: It takes time for your eyes to adjust to the darkness and start seeing meteors. It might be difficult initially to spot meteors, but be patient and persistent. Also, don’t look at your phone because just one glance at the screen will ruin your night vision. Bring your friends and talk to each other instead – it’s more fun than scrolling through social media anyway.

If you plan to take photos of the Geminids, here are some tips for photographing the meteor shower. Stay warm and have fun!

[via Space.com]

Filed Under:

Tagged With:

Find this interesting? Share it with your friends!

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Join the Discussion

DIYP Comment Policy
Be nice, be on-topic, no personal information or flames.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *