The middle of December might not seem like the best time to go roam the wilderness at night, but an upcoming event is worth leaving your house before dawn
Advent markets might be in full swing, but you might want to avert your gaze from the Christmas lights for a moment and look up at the stars: on December 14, 2017, the Geminids will light up the night sky, reports Glas Istre.
The Geminids are a meteor shower that can only be seen in December, starting to appear at the beginning of the month and becoming best visible just before dawn on December 14. Unlike other meteor showers such as the Perseids that were first spotted in 36 AD, the Geminids are considered to be a relatively young shower, first observed in 1862.
“We consider [the Geminids] to be particles ‘swept off’ the surface of the Phaethon asteroid by the solar wind when the asteroid moves closer to the Sun. Once when its orbit overlaps with the Earth’s orbit during December, some of the particles float off into the Earth’s atmosphere and the collision makes them burn out. The Geminids are very slow compared to other meteor showers, they are very bright, and their number increases with every passing year”, explained Marino Tumpić, the head of the Astronomic Society Vidulini.
According to Tumpić, the meteors can appear anywhere in the sky, and we can expect more than 50 of them this year – especially in the hours before dawn. If you want to observe the spectacular celestial event, you should pick any spot outside the scope of public lighting, the darker the area the better.
“Wait a few minutes until your eyes get used to darkness, and the celestial mechanics will take care of the rest. If we get lucky with the weather conditions, we have a good chance to see a proper shooting star show this year”, Tumpić said.
According to the expert, we don’t need any special equipment to observe the meteors – only some warm winter clothing and a bit of enthusiasm. Save the date, look up, and make a wish!