Geminids meteor shower 2018: The celestial spectacle of the year peaks TONIGHT

The Geminids meteor shower rolls around every early December and 2018, for all its turmoil, is no exception. This is no ordinary collection of shooting stars; the Geminids display is widely acknowledged to be the best meteor shower of the year. Stargazers should buckle up for a stellar showstopper…

Tonight marks the peak of the Geminids meteor shower, when they’re at their most visible (read: downright spectacular). While the meteor shower we’ve all been waiting for started back on 4 December, and remains active until around 17 December, this middle period is when stargazers – amateur and seasoned alike – can enjoy the Geminids at their best. 

Budding astronomers should prepare themselves for a late one; the early hours of the morning on Friday 14 December – around 2am – are being billed as the optimal viewing time for the world-famous Geminids.

In the meantime, read on to find out everything you need to know about the meteor shower of the year.

Geminids 2018: What are they?

The Geminids meteor shower is an annual display of shooting stars over which us earthlings congregate to marvel over.

The science behind it? Earth passes through clusters of rocky particles emanating from various comet-asteroid hybrids every year. When these rocky objects interact with the Earth’s atmosphere, they combust, causing the bright trails of shooting stars us earthlings fawn over annually. Pretty neat.

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The parent body of this spectacular shower is the rock comet known as 3200 Phaethon, thought to be a Palladian asteroid (namely one belonging to the Pallas family of asteroids). Meanwhile, the meteor shower itself appears to come from the constellation Gemini, hence the name Geminids.

Geminids 2018: Where and how to watch

Those in the Northern Hemisphere should count themselves lucky; the Geminids are most visible to those in that region. Southern Hemisphere dwellers needn’t despair, though, as the meteor shower is also visible there too.

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Observers should give themselves an hour of viewing time, as it takes 20 minutes for your eyes to adapt to the darkness. Plus, viewing is best from somewhere devoid of light pollution, namely away from city centres.

With the show’s zenith kicking off tonight, what’s stopping you? Grab a flask and a blanket, kick back and watch the Geminids unfold in front of your very eyes. Something good had to come out of 2018.

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