Published: Thu, December 13, 2018
Sci-tech | By April Francis

Geminid Meteor Shower Peaks This Week

Geminid Meteor Shower Peaks This Week

There's going to be a attractive spectacle over South Africa later tonight, on the night of Friday 14 December going into Saturday morning, when the Geminids Meteor Shower will be fully visible in the night skies. Most meteor showers are a result of our planet passing through the comet debris which burn upon contact with Earth's atmosphere.

This particular meteor show is called the Geminids because it seems to radiate from the constellation of Gemini. However, they can appear nearly anywhere in the night sky, and often appear yellowish in hue.

Meteor showers are indubitably one of the galaxy's best-kept secrets.

Meteorological departments recommend that the best view shall be seen once the radiant gets higher in the night sky.

Avoid using flashlights, or use flashlights with red-color settings, to preserve your night vision. Moonlight also threatens to outshine some of the dimmer Geminids, but the moon is due to set by about 10:30 p.m. local time on the night of the shower, leaving the sky dark and clear.

Don't look at your cell phone during this time Lie back and look up at the sky, try and give yourself the biggest view of the sky as you can.

As they have done in the past, Astronomy Ireland are urging members of the public to count how many meteors they can see in the sky every 15 minutes (if possible, start on the hour or quarter past the hour), note it down and to contact them with the details.

Heavy rain and strong winds are expected to cross Ireland on Saturday, but Sunday will be "bright and breezy". Unlike other meteor showers, it's unclear where the debris is actually trailing from.

The Geminid Meteor Shower, while one of the brightest, is often overlooked because it always occurs when it's cold outside.

Using Orion's belt as a reference point, Mrs O'Connor said to look to the left for a red star, from which the Gemini constellation is located directly below. And it will be visible to the naked eye. Even in light polluted areas, they are bright enough to spot as they fly above us.

Geminid meteor shower image taken in 2011. Those living across parts of the United Kingdom, northern France, Belgium, Netherlands, western Germany, Portugal and western Spain will have the best viewing conditions.

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