Geminid Meteor Shower 2018: When and How to Watch

The year's most spectacular meteor shower is this weekend

Google celebrated the 2018 Geminid meteor shower peak with an adorable Google Doodle slideshow. NASA also says the Geminids are the strongest shower of the year.

Geminid meteor showers occur when moves through the debris from asteroid 3200 Phaeton as it orbits the sun.

Named after the constellation Gemini they appear to radiate from, the Geminids are also unique in another aspect.

Like all meteor showers, the Geminid is caused by particles of comet debris entering our atmosphere.

You should start to see the Geminid meteors appear, their rate will increase hitting their peak at around or around 100 per hour around 2am Thought this number is reflective only of someone watching from the flawless position under totally cloudless skies.

While the Perseid meteor shower in August is likely the most popular of the year - thanks to the warmer temperatures and reduced chance of cloud cover - the Geminid meteor shower produces more "shooting stars" per hour in a dark-sky location - 120 compared to about 100 for the Perseids.

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There's going to be a lovely spectacle over South Africa later tonight, on the night of Friday 14 December going into Saturday morning, when the Geminids Meteor Shower will be fully visible in the night skies. Matthew Cappucci of the Washington Post recommends not looking directly at the Gemini constellation, which in this context is known as the shower's "radiant", because you'll see only quick flashes of light.

Getting away from light pollution and cities will enable stargazers to get the best views of the shower, but even city dwellers should be able to catch a glimpse of the meteors, providing the night is a clear one.

It is expected that we will be able to start seeing the meteor shower on Thursday 13 December from around 9pm or slightly earlier. There's no specific direction in the sky to look to find them. The escalation of yellowish streaks of light in the night-sky has only grown intense with every passing year.

For optimal viewing conditions, get as far away from city lights as possible, face South, and keep in mind to dress warmly as you enjoy one of the greatest shows on-or above-Earth. Instead, they tend to zip across the skies in clumps - about every five to seven minutes.

It is considered as a naked eye event where one does not require any equipment or instruments for watching.

The green-coloured comet will be at its brightest between December 14 and 18.



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