The Geminids are, along with the Perseids, the biggest meteor shower of the year. They are less known than the Perseids, perhaps because they take place in December, but the frequency and speed of the meteors may be even greater. The best time to observe them this year is at its maximum, which will be the nights of December 13 and 14, where up to 120 meteors per hour are expected.
What is a shower of stars?
This astronomical phenomenon occurs when small dust particles that come from asteroid fragments, or comets, collide with the Earth’s atmosphere.
The geminids is an annual event, known for less than 200 years. It is believed that the responsible for this meteor shower is the asteroid 3200 Phaethon that some time in the past left particles in the solar system possibly after colliding with another object. Currently these particles are being dragged by Jupiter’s gravity making this meteor shower more active. In the journey of the Earth around the Sun we find this cloud of particles, creating the meteor shower once they come into contact with our atmosphere. The particles of the geminids (shooting stars) are very small. They can leave important traces in the sky, but they will not reach the ground, given their small size.
What to do to see the geminids?
The first thing is to find a place to observe them, preferably dark (without light pollution). Fortunately the island of La Palma is one of those places. And in fact we already have everything ready to go to observe them … Then, you have to know where to look. In general, all the sky is good, because you never know where a meteor will go. But it is advisable to know that every shooting star seems to “be born” from its radiant that is in the constellation of Gemini, located near Orion, on your left .
Have fun observing the Geminids this week!