Geminid meteor shower: For skygazers, here's all they should know about the brightest annual event

Next week's Geminid meteor shower may bring as many as 150 meteors per hour on the night of December 13, 2019

The month of December has always been special for skygazers as it's the best time to watch the Geminid meteor shower, also known to be the best shower of the year. Before the sky enthusiasts brace themselves to witness the meteor shower in the night sky on December 13 and 14.

As per the American Meteor Society (AMS), "The Geminids are usually the strongest meteor shower of the year and meteor enthusiasts are certain to circle December 13 and 14 on their calendars." It suggests that this shower may bring as many as 150 meteors per hour on the night of December 13 till the early morning of December 14.

However, the bright moon may envelope some of the shooting showers in the sky, notes AMS. This may reduce the number of meteors visible to a naked eye from 150 per hour to 20 or 30 meteors per hour as the light pollution from the nearly full moon may make many of the dimmer meteors invisible.

Geminid meteor shower

How and when to get the best view?

Stargazers should try and concentrate on the darker areas of the sky, away from the moon, to catch a glimpse of the shooting stars. People tend to get the best view of the Geminids at around 2 am, but any time after 9 pm, there is the possibility of viewing the shower.

The Geminid meteors are said to radiate from within the constellation named Gemini in the southwestern sky, but the best viewing position is always reclined. One should always look straight up to get a better view of the whole horizon.

Gemini meteor
A meteor shower lights up the sky over the Mexican volcano Popocatepetl near the village San Nicolas de los Ranchos in Mexican state of Puebla in the early hours of December 14, 2004. The shower, named Geminid because it appears to originate from the constellation Gemini, lit up the sky with dozens of shooting stars per hour. Reuters

What if you miss it?

However, if someone fails to watch the shower coming next week, he or she can see it in subsequent days, as the moon fades further. According to reports, the bright meteors will likely continue for at least a few days.

Meanwhile, on the night of December 21 and during the early morning hours of December 22, people can witness the final meteor shower of this year that will bring around 10 meteors per hour.

Reports suggest that the upcoming meteor shower consists of debris that were left behind by a mysterious asteroid named 3200 Phaethon. The asteroid may have collided with some object long ago, and still continues to rotate around the Sun in a 1.4-year orbit.