Just in time for the winter holidays, the Geminids meteor shower will light up Canadian skies next week, and will peak on the nights of December 13th and 14th.
According to NASA, the Geminids is one of the “best and most reliable” meteor showers to pass by our planet, and Space.com describes them as “bright and easy to spot — even from light-polluted areas.”
The outer-space website says that the meteors will be cutting stripes of light en-masse this year, with more than 1 meteor appearing per minute and up to 100 meteors passing per hour. Areas with with greater light pollution will see fewer meteors, however.
“The best time to view the Geminids is around 2 a.m. local time,” NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke told Space.
“The moon will be first quarter, so it will set around midnight; there will be no moonlight to interfere with the Geminids this year.”
According to Space, the Geminids shower is approximately 200 years old, with the first recorded observation of it dating back to an 1833 riverboat on the Mississippi River.
Since then, the shower has only grown as Jupiter’s gravity has pulled the stream of particles that follow asteroid 3200 Phaethon — which comprises the meteor shower — and moved them closer to Earth over time.
The best ways to watch
While the most active time for the shower is at approximately 2:00 a.m., meteors can be seen as early as 9:00 – 10:00 p.m.
The ideal spot for stargazers is somewhere secluded and away from light pollution. Once there, give your eyes 10 – 20 minutes to adjust.
After you’ve found a cozy spot, recline on a fold-out chair or lie down so you can keep your eyes pointed at the shimmering sky. Make sure to bring some warm clothes or a hot drink with you!
For a little preview of a meteor shower that’s aged like fine wine, here’s NASA’s 2017 Geminids reminder.
- When: December 13th and 14th, starts as early as 9:00 p.m., peaks at 2:00 a.m.
- Where: All across the night sky