The Impressive Geminids Meteor Shower Will Be Visible in Australia This Month
The spectacular starry event only happens once a year — and it'll be at its peak overnight between December 14 and 15.
Every December, the Geminids meteor shower lights up our skies. Considered to be the most spectacular meteor shower of the year, it's caused by a stream of debris, left by an asteroid dubbed the 3200 Phaethon, burning up in Earth's atmosphere.
The 2021 shower kicked off on Saturday, December 4, but it really is just getting started. While the Geminids runs through until Monday, December 20 this year, it's expected to be at its peak in Australia overnight between Tuesday, December 14–Wednesday, December 15. Christmas lights aren't the only spectacle worth peering at this month, clearly.
If you fancy a stint of stargazing, you'll want to look up on Tuesday, December 14 from around 9pm in Brisbane, 10pm in Perth, 11pm in Sydney, 11.30pm in Adelaide and 12am in Melbourne. The best time to catch an eyeful will be after midnight, when the moon has set and its light will not interfere, but before sunrise.
Australia is also expected to get a great vantage on the on the evening of Monday, December 13, if you'd like to double your viewing.
Some years, you can catch as many as 150 meteors every 60 minutes, so this definitely isn't just any old meteor shower.
For your best chances, it's worth getting as far away from bright lights as possible. This could be a good excuse to head out of the city to a clear-skied camping spot — and pray for no clouds. To see the meteors, you'll need to give your eyes around 15–30 minutes to adapt to the dark (so try to avoid checking your phone) and look to the northeast.
The shower's name comes from the constellation from which they appear to come, Gemini. So that's what you'll be looking for in the sky. To locate Gemini, we recommend downloading the Sky Map app — it's the easiest way to navigate the night sky (and is a lot of fun to use even on a non-meteor shower night).
If you're more into specifics, Time and Date also has a table that shows the direction and altitude of the Geminids.
The Geminids meteor shower runs from Saturday, December 4–Monday, December 20, and will be at its peak during the night on Tuesday, December 14–Wednesday, December 15. For further details, head to Time and Date.
Top image: A composite of 163 photos taken over 90 minutes during the Geminids by Jeff Smallwood for Flickr.
Published on December 08, 2021 by Concrete Playground