Flawless conditions ahead for Geminid meteor shower, pairings of moon, planets

Olive Hawkins
December 7, 2017

Local astronomer, Mr Andrew Murrell, will also be at the workshop to share stories of the night sky and solar system, and will have a giant Dobsonian Telescope on hand for an unforgettable view of the meteor show.

The phase of the moon can greatly affect how well a meteor shower can be seen, with the brightness of a full moon making it hard to discern some of the fainter streaks.

Mr Magro's final tip for this year's event was to make sure you give yourself plenty of time to prepare, even if you are just planning on watching the shower.

Geminids meteor shower 2017: What is it?

Geminid meteors should be visible near Gemini, the neighboring constellation for which they're named. Wednesday evening to Thursday dawn is where it's at. Earth, at roughly the same point every year, passes through clusters of rocky particles emanating from various comet-asteroid hybrids. It is the meteors from a particular swarm all appearing to shoot out from a particular point among the constellations, a point called the radiant.

Why is this year so favorable for the Geminids?

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The Geminids radiate from Gemini the Twins which will be overhead at 1:30 a.m.

Santa Claus isn't the only thing coming to town this December as the Geminid Meteor Shower is primed to light up the sky. If you live in the United Kingdom, with its unending proclivity for leaden skies, you may not be so lucky but don't despair; you may still get a chance to see some ethereal pairings of the crescent moon with the planets Jupiter and Mars instead.

Beginning on Thursday, Dec. 7, the Geminids are said to be one of the most reliable and prolific meteor showers, producing up to 120 to 160 meteors per hour during its peak from Dec. 13 - 14.

The past year that there were similarly favorable conditions for the Geminids I saw 68 of them in my best hour, along with about 14 meteors from other directions.

The best way to view the meteors is to get somewhere rural with minimal light pollution. Geminids come in all colors, sometimes have boisterous flaring, bursting flights, and sometimes leave lingering, luminous trails. But at the same time the next day the moon is dramatically close to the upper right of bright Jupiter.

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