Published: Fri, December 08, 2017
Research | By Raquel Erickson

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

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

We may still see some of these meteors on neighboring nights, in addition to viewing several handsome pairings of the crescent moon with the planets Jupiter and Mars. The shower will peak the night of the December 13th and be visible from most points on Earth through the morning of the 14th.

Geminids are the slowpokes of the meteor world.

The meteors appear to radiate from the constellation Gemini, which rises around sunset and climbs almost overhead by 2 a.m. This point or "radiant" is in the constellation for which the shower is named.

THE Geminids meteor shower will be active in the night skies above Perth from tonight.

It might seem unfortunate that one of the greatest meteor showers of the year comes as winter is ramping up.

Last year, the normally brilliant Geminids were outshone by a supermoon.

Best viewing should be about 2 a.m., and this might be a good year to get away from city lights and out into the countryside.

On the night of the December 13 and 14, Perth Observatory will be open from 10:30pm to 2am and stargazers can book to view the Geminids at the Observatory here. The thin crescent Moon does not rise until 3:57 a.m. Thursday and will not interfere with the meteor shower.

How many meteors will you see?

With the moon but a slender wisp, conditions could hardly be better for this year's premier shower. Observers need to go to areas with little light pollution. But some of them will be bright meteors, maybe a few brighter than any star or planet, or even as bright as the moon.

The Geminids radiate from Gemini the Twins which will be overhead at 1:30 a.m. The few Geminids that do occur then, however, will tend to be "earthgrazers" - meteors with incredibly long flights, sometimes nearly all the way across the sky.

An hour or so before sunrise on December 13, the crescent moon is just above the now dim planet Mars, with Jupiter well to the lower left.

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