Photo Credit: Bryce Bradford/Flickr
The year's most spectacular meteor shower is back. The Geminid meteor shower is set to dazzle the nighttime sky on December 13 and will continue until the early morning hours of December 14. It's worth stepping out for on a cold December winter night. The Geminid meteor shower will peak on Thursday night and you don't need any special equipment to view the magical show provided you're able to find a clear and dark sky.
What is the Geminid meteor shower?
The Geminid meteor shower is caused by debris from the asteroid named 3200 Phaethon. The slow-moving showers are usually seen around December every year but they peak around December 13-14 with the maximum intensity during the early hours of December 14 each year. The 3200 Phaethon asteroid takes about 1.43 years to finish its orbit around the sun. These meteor showers occur in December each year when our planet passes through the tail of the debris from 3200 Phaethon.
Geminids appear almost anywhere in the night sky and appear with a yellowish colour in the sky. They come from a radiant in the Gemini constellation, and thus the name. In the northern hemisphere, you'll be able to enjoy a better view of the Geminid meteor shower as the radiant becomes higher in the night sky. The meteors travel at about 35 km/s so they're easier to spot.
How to watch the Geminid meteor shower in India?
You'll be able to easily watch the Geminid meteor shower from India provided you have access to a clear, dark night sky. As we mentioned earlier, the meteor showers will be at their best on Thursday at midnight and will last until Friday night. Given their medium speeds, you'll be able to view one to two meteors per minute in the night sky. You don't need any special equipment to view the Geminid meteor showers.
The best way to view the Geminid meteor shower in India is to move away from polluted areas in the cities to lesser polluted areas, and, ideally, with a clear dark sky at night. The best time to view the Geminid meteor shower in India is from 12am (Midnight) IST to 2am IST on December 14. Luckily, the moon will be at the first quarter, making sure there's no moonlight to disturb observers while they enjoy the celestial spectacle.
Once you're at the right place, settle down and let your eyes get used to the dark night sky. Don't keep staring at your smartphone so that when the meteor shower is visible you'll be able to enjoy it.