Today, on the night between December 13 and 14, is the peak of the Geminid meteor shower – one of the most remarkable of the year. Its shooting stars are already shining against the night sky. Their number can reach 100 per hour.
Meteor shower is caused by an object named 3200 Phaethon, which is considered extinct comet. The radiant of the Geminid (the apparent point from which they appear) is located in the constellation Gemini, from where it gets its name. Meteors move at a moderate speed in the sky, their real speed is about 35 km / sec, which makes them easy to spot.
The first described observation of the Geminid was 150 years ago – much sooner than other meteor showers, such as the Perseid and Leonid.
It is possible to see the “shooting stars” from the window of your home, but to make sure you enjoy the celestial spectacle, it is best to look for a place away from city lights. And to make the experience really special, don’t forget to make a wish.
Here are 5 tips for meteor-watchers:
- The most important thing, if you’re serious about watching meteors, is a dark, open sky
- Watch at the peak time of night, around 2 a.m. (or later) for all parts of the globe.
- When you’re meteor-watching, it’s good to bring along a buddy. Then two of you can watch in different directions. When someone sees one, call out “meteor!” This technique will let you see more meteors than one person watching alone will see.
- Be sure to give yourself at least an hour of observing time. It takes about 20 minutes for your eyes to adapt to the dark.
- Be aware that meteors often come in spurts, interspersed with lulls.