After a year that spoilt amateur astronomers and the cosmically inclined with back-to-back events including a Blue Moon, a rare green comet and supermoons, the biggest and brightest meteor shower is set to take place right before Christmas. The grand finale of 2023 comes in the form of the Geminids meteor shower which peaks during mid-December and is considered one of the most reliable meteor showers of the year. Find out how you can see the spectacle from Sydney below.
Geminids meteor shower
The Geminids first made an appearance in the mid-1800s but have since grown into one of the biggest meteor showers of the year. In fact, at its peak, over 120 meteors can be seen under a dark sky with no moon, according to NASA. The Geminids are debris from an asteroid known as 3200 Phaethon which the Earth passes through annually.
When can I see the Geminid meteor shower?
The predicted peak for the shower will occur around midnight on Thursday, December 14, Sydney time. This year, a new moon that sets early in the evening is coinciding with the Geminids which means the skies will be wonderfully dark, hence increasing the chances of seeing more meteors. Plus, since summer is in full swing in Australia, it’s the perfect time to head out for a camping adventure.
Catch it around 9pm in Brisbane, 10pm in Perth, 11pm in Sydney, 11.30pm in Adelaide and 12am in Melbourne.
What are the best viewing tips?
Nasa recommends finding an area away from city lights and devoid of any street lights. Face toward the north and north-west part of the sky and give your eyes enough time to adjust, after about 30 minutes in the dark, you should start spotting meteors. The full meteor shower will last until dawn so there’s plenty of time to enjoy the show.
Why is the Geminds meteor shower special?
The bold and bright Geminids produce one of the most spectacular showers of the year. You can expect to see anything from 10 to 20 meteors per hour in the right conditions and no equipment is needed to enjoy the show. Geminid meteors are also known to be bold, white and very quick according to Earth Sky.