How To Watch Today's Spectacular Geminid Meteor Shower

Today you can catch some of the best sky watching of the year with the annual Geminids Meteor shower. Hayden Planetarium's Joe Rao says it's always one of the best sky shows, but this year's shower is probably going to be especially good because the moon is at new phase. That means the moonlight won't steal the stage from these sparkly falling gems.

The peak of the shower is supposed to happen later in the night. (Update: See Spacedex for information on the best times — thanks philis!) At its climax, you'll see between 60 and 120 meteors falling from the sky. Of course, that's if you're somewhere with a wide open sky and not a lot of light pollution. If you're not, you can watch along online here with NASA meteor experts.

What makes the Geminids so good? Rao explains that they're slower than other meteors, like the Perseids, which happen every August. He says Geminids look like little mice skittering across the sky. And tonight there's a chance that we'll also catch an appearance from an unnamed meteor shower, making the spectacle even more impressive. [Hayden Planetarium, Space.com]

Picture: Primoz Cigler/Shutterstock


Comments

    Ya, weather permitting, which in Melbourne atm, not looking good :(

      I have been looking forward to this shower all year.. now Melbourne goes and does this to us!

      Should be a spectacular show though with the new moon...

      Last meteor shower over sydney was cloudy -- hoping tonight will be better!

    At the 6pm peak, it'll still be daylight... surely we wouldn't see it until it's dark? By then it's too late, right?

      How cool would it be if it was close enough in the atmosphere that you could see it breaking through the clouds and what not. Assuming it never hits earth of course.

      Last edited 14/12/12 10:33 am

        Have a look at how low the cloud layer is compared to the thickness of the atmosphere. Possibly better if they're not coming that close!

          Sorry I was watching Stargate yesterday and the planet passing through the asteroid field once a year episode came on. Couldn't help but wonder how cool it would be to see it with my own eyes for real.

    I have read more articles saying it occurred from last night til dawn this morning... think the author is incorrect??

      think giz (not only giz also applicable to kotaku and lifehacker) editors are just lazy

        Yeah the times are BS. I watched it last night from Sydney, perfect skies, from mindnight till 2am. Should be the same tonight if the cloud cover clears.

    apparently best viewing time is 9:00pm - 04:30am that is of course if the clouds part
    i think the article times are for americans (giz if you are going to repost the article for AUS then at least change the info so that it fits with AUS
    http://www.spacedex.com/geminids/locations/geminid-australia-sydney.php

    I believe you have the wrong time, it is between midnight and sunrise local time and not early afternoon.
    Please check other websites, news.com.au seems to be the only one with the wrong information.
    "Astronomer Nick Lomb from the Sydney Observatory says those wanting the best view should look to the northern sky for the meteor shower's peak at about 3:45am AEDT"

    I believe you need to look UP

    I saw two last night (Dec 13th 2012), about 8pm (Queensland).

    I was looking at Orion, one was below him to the right, one above to the left.
    So that's roughly East at that time of night I think.

    Worth a look tonight, be patient.

    The peak time doesnt matter. I spend half an hour last night lying on the bonnet of my work ute in the middle of WA and saw more shooting stars in that time than I've seen my whole life.

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