Thursday, 17 January, 2019

Geminids Meteor Shower: the best places to watch from the United Kingdom tonight

The Geminid meteor shower peaks this week, and it'll be a special one Geminid meteor shower 2018: Celestial fireworks to be visible in clear, northern skies
Doris Mccormick | 14 December, 2018, 17:55

The Geminid Meteor Shower, one of the brightest meteor showers, appears every year in December.

"The Geminids will appear to the north-east, just above the horizon in the constellation of Gemini", she said.

It is also the last meteor shower of the year, so it does not seem to be a bad idea to plug off your smartphones for a night and witness this fantastic cosmic manifestation.

According to Dark Sky Discovery, the United Kingdom has some of the largest areas of dark sky in Europe, meaning our chances of observing the Geminids in their full glory are high. Given their medium speeds, you'll be able to view one to two meteors per minute in the night sky.

Once you're at the right place, settle down and let your eyes get used to the dark night sky.

Over time it has become more intense, with up to 20 comets per hour reported in the 1920s, rising to 50 in the 1930s, 60 in the 1940s and 80 in the 1970s.

This month has been a good one for people wanting to see something spectacular in the night skies.

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For those who miss tonight's meteor shower, Filippenko said the Geminids will continue Friday evening "but there won't be as many meteors". Although the showers should be visible to naked eyes after 9 pm on Thursday, they are likely to peak after midnight with as many as 120 meteors per hour and the best time will be 2 am tonight. That stream was set to begin at 6 p.m. EST Thursday night for those looking to catch the meteor shower live without heading outside.

This meteor shower is active every December when Earth passes through a massive trail of dusty debris shed by a weird, rocky object named 3200 Phaethon, NASA said. Find the darkest place you can, get away from street lighting.

Astronomy Ireland are hosting a viewing event on Friday 14 to witness the "once in a lifetime" comet- so views of the meteor shower may also be possible then.

You won't need telescopes or binoculars to see the meteors, but the show will look most dramatic if you're in a dark area.

The pieces burn up as they enter our atmosphere creating the bright colours.

However the Geminids meteors are the broken debris from the space object the 3200 Phaethon. Though the Geminids favor the Northern Hemisphere, the meteors will be visible from the Southern Hemisphere as well.

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