Every December, astronomy enthusiasts eagerly await the biggest meteor shower of the year: the Geminids, due to the frequency and brightness of the Geminid meteors. Specifically, admiring shooting stars with your companions in the cold winter sky will make you feel warm under countless bright stars.
The Geminids meteor shower is still one of the most popular annual meteor showers, it is expected to peak on the night of Monday, December 13th into the early morning of Tuesday, December 14th. The Geminids meteor shower is best visible around 2 a.m. local time, when the sky is dark enough. This year, the Moon will be above the horizon during the peak of the meteor shower, but it will set shortly after, leaving behind ideal dark skies. The best time to observe the 2021 Geminids is therefore before dusk, around 1 a.m. before dawn on December 14.
Photo: Meteor shower affected by moonlight, Juan Carlos Casado (TWAN)
– Origin: Comet 3200 Phaethon
– Maximum: The night of December 13 – the morning of December 14
– Frequency: 150 meteors/hour during peak hours
– Source: Castor star, constellation Gemini
You can also try observing meteor showers under the moonlight. Geminid meteors are generally sharp, white, and travel across the sky relatively quickly. Even though moonlight affects visibility, the brightest meteors are still visible. The Geminids are the remains of a rocky comet called 3200 Phaethon. Scientists believe that sodium flowing from the surface causes 3,200 Phaeton to behave like a comet. VSIts fragments fell into the Earth’s atmosphere at a speed of about 130,000 km/h, then evaporated into countless colorful Geminid meteors.
At night near the peak, you can catch 50 or more meteors in an hour. This number can reach 150 per hour when weather conditions are ideal. The new moon on December 4 means that the maximum will coincide with the first moon of the month. On the evening of the 13th, the Moon’s surface is 77% brighter and will appear above the horizon at nightfall. It will then gradually move westwards, passing through Pisces (Pisces) and set around 1am. Therefore, the best viewing time is between midnight and dawn.
6 Tips for Watching the Geminid Meteor Shower
Above are the things you need to know to prepare for a successful shadowing session. I wish you many good wishes with the Geminids!