Geminid Meteor Shower 2017: What Are The Geminids And Where Can You Watch Them?

Ethan MillerGetty Images

The Geminid meteor shower 2017 will come just in time to grant everyone’s Christmas wishes. The grand spectacle of shooting stars will take place on December 13, Wednesday, and sky watchers can witness it everywhere, even in the comfort of their homes.

What is the Geminid meteor shower?

The Geminid meteor shower, otherwise called Geminids, is caused by debris in the 3200 Phaethon, which is an Apollo asteroid that has an orbit that brings it closer to the sun than any other known asteroid. The meteors’ radiant lies in the constellation Gemini, hence the name. According to Space.com, the Geminids were first observed in 1833, much later than the Perseids, which were first recorded in 36 A.D., and the Leonids, which were first discovered in 92 A.D.

The Geminids are slow-moving meteors that usually pop up in the night sky around December. These yellowish specks are visible almost anywhere in the night sky. Compared to other meteor showers, Geminids are considered by many as the most active and consistent annual meteor shower on Earth.

Where And How To Watch The Geminid Meteor Shower 2017

The Geminids will reach their peak on the night of December 13 until the morning of December 14. What’s special about this year’s Geminid meteor shower is that it will appear more prominently in the night sky. Last year, the annual Geminids were washed out by the supermoon. This year, viewers can expect the Geminids to be the best shower of 2017.

Geminid meteor shower
Featured image credit: Ethan MillerGetty Images

“With August’s Perseids obscured by bright moonlight, the Geminids will be the best shower this year,” Bill Cooke from NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office said in an official statement. “The thin, waning crescent Moon won’t spoil the show.”

The best places to watch the Geminid meteor shower 2017 are areas where there is less light pollution, tall trees, and buildings. Thus, those living in highly urbanized cities may see fewer Geminids than those living in the countryside.

To find the location of the shower in the sky, it is necessary to locate the constellation Gemini. This is found near the constellation Orion, which is easily identified by three stars lined in the hunter’s belt. The meteor shower will start at a reasonably convenient hour, around 10 p.m. It will reach its peak at 2 a.m., during which more Geminids will light up the sky.

Geminid meteor shower
Featured image credit: Ethan MillerGetty Images

Sky watchers don’t need binoculars or telescopes to view the meteor shower as it can be seen with the naked eye.

Those who will be unable to watch the Geminid meteor shower 2017 in their areas may check out NASA’s live feed of the event on their official website.