The annual Geminid meteor shower is here again, set to light up skies across Australia this week. The meteor shower is expected to peak early on Tuesday and Wednesday morning, and we’ll be able to spot the astronomical phenomena from every major city as the meteors put on a show. Being one of the most spectacular meteor showers of the year, this is one you won’t want to miss. Even if that does mean setting the alarm for the wee hours of the morning.
What is the Geminid meteor shower?
The geminids are debris from an asteroid called 3200 Phaethon of which Earth passes through each year. Little bits of asteroid break off, burn up in the atmosphere, and shoot across the night sky. This results in a meteor shower. The Geminid Meteor Shower gets its name from a Gemini constellation where the meteors reportedly originate from.
The Geminid meteor shower will be most visible between 3 and 4 am, where you could see up to a few dozen meteors per hour as they soar across the sky. However, if that’s too late for your liking, not to worry. There will be some “earth-grazing” meteors that can be spotted earlier in the night. In Melbourne, this will be at 11 pm.
To get the most out of your viewing time, it is advised that you head to a dark spot as far away from light pollution as possible. This could be a local park or an oval that has clear views of the night sky. Another tip is to allow around half an hour for your eyes to adjust.