Geminids 2017: How To Watch One Of The Year’s Best Meteor Showers In The UK

For stargazers and the general public, the Geminid meteor shower is important for being not only the last major meteor shower of the year but also one of the most impressive.

With slower moving meteors composed of hard asteroid rock these shooting stars are brighter than most and can last for well over a second as they streak across the night sky.

What is the Geminid meteor shower?

The Geminids takes place every year and usually occurs around the middle of December.

Taking its name from the region in the sky where it usually appears (Gemini constellation) the Geminids are renowned for being some of the brightest and most active in the stargazing calendar.

Stargazers can expect anywhere between 60-120 shooting stars an hour which is considerably more than say the Leonids shower which saw just 15-20 shooting stars an hour last month.

What sets the Geminids apart from other meteor showers is their point of origin. While most come from meteors, the Geminids originate from an asteroid which makes the material entering the atmosphere hard and gritty.

As such it takes longer to burn up and will burn up much brighter, effectively guaranteeing a good view.

When is the Geminid meteor shower?

While the shower carries on throughout the month of December, it will reach its visual peak between the 13th and 14th of December.

The Royal Observatory Greenwich states that you can technically start watching the shower as soon as the sun has set on the 13th, however the shower is expected to reach its peak in the early hours of the 14th December.

You don’t need any special viewing equipment instead you’ll just need a clear sky, some warm clothes and a lot of patience.

What will the weather be like?

Now for the bad news. The weather forecast for the next few days is not great with rain expected across much of the UK on Wednesday evening.

Things do improve in the early hours of the morning which could mean that you have a perfect window within which to catch a glimpse of the phenomenon without getting completely soaked.

To find out for sure though, check out the Met office forecast to see what the weather will be like in your local area.