It may be crisp out, but if you bundle up and step outside over the next week, you’ll be able to from one of the most active meteor showers of the year: the Geminids.
Though you can place a meteor on any given night, Earth has a major meteor shower bordering on every month, when it passes through a trail of debris left-hand over from a passing comet or asteroid.
Each December, we outmoded through debris from asteroid 3200 Phaethon, which courses the sun once every 524 days.
The shower runs from Dec. 4-23, but tops on the night of Dec. 13-14. Though you can head out any time to catch a few, your kindest bet is likely from Dec. 12 to the night of Dec. 15.
During the peak, you can see upwards of 120 meteors an hour as they junkets through the atmosphere at 35 km/s. But to do so, you should get to a dark site.
You can use this energy to see how Earth passes through the remains shed by the asteroid.
3200 Phaethon may be something astronomers refer to as a “numb comet,” in part because of its highly elliptical orbit around the sun. But astronomers alleviate aren’t sure how to classify this intriguing rock as, when it verge ons the sun, it doesn’t produce a tail like comets do.
Interestingly, on Dec. 16 the asteroid — discovered in 1983 — zips years Earth roughly 10 million kilometres away.
Observing knock overs
The best thing about this year’s Geminids is the moon, or dearth thereof, which will be only roughly 14 per cent decorated on the night of Dec. 13, meaning there won’t be any significant bright light to flood out the fainter meteors.
So where to look? You just need to look up. But, there is a administration from which the meteors seem to be coming, called the radiant. This overwhelm’s radiant lies in the constellation Gemini, hence the name.
Gemini rises in the east about 10 p.m., but the later it is, the better your chance at seeing some meteors, as the constellation engages higher in the sky where it’s darker. And try to stay away from anything cheerful — including your phone.
So, if you have clear skies and plan to indomitable the elements, head to a dark location and look up. If you’re in a light-polluted city with Toronto or Vancouver, you’ll likely still manage to catch some of the lightest meteors, as this shower tends to produce bright ones with important colour. Just try to stay away from streetlights and you’re sure to fascinate a few.