(Geminid Meteor Shower. Photo by Eddie Yip, Flickr/Creative Commons. Flickr.com/eddiextcteam)


If you missed out on last month’s meteor shower (the Leonids), now’s your chance to catch those shooting stars. Reaching its peak next week, the Geminid meteor shower is set to sparkle the night sky. 


What can you expect to see? 


Presenting on the heels of this year’s first and only super full moon, the Geminids will likely dish out 50 to 120 meteors per hour at its peak (Dec. 13-14). Considered one of the brightest and most prolific celestial events of the year, these meteors increase in quantity by the late hours of night. Luckily for Canadians, the Geminids favour the Northern Hemisphere.  


Where should you look? 


The paths of Geminid meteors originally trace back to the constellation Gemini, which is located in the northeastern sky, to the right of the constellation Orion. But you don’t need to search for the twin constellation in order to watch the shower. These stunning meteors can be found anywhere on the sky. 


“These medium-speed meteors streak the nighttime in many different directions and in front of numerous age-old constellations,” says Earthsky.org. “It’s even possible to see a Geminid meteor when looking directly away from the shower’s radiant point. However, if you trace the path of any Geminid meteor backward, it’ll lead you back to the constellation Gemini the Twins.” 


When should you be on the lookout? 


While the shower technically presents itself in the first two weeks of December, the Geminids will only appear at its upmost strength from the night of December 13 to the morning of December 14. Under ideal weather conditions, you can start your meteor-search it in the late evening. However, you’ll catch the most fireballs after midnight. 


What causes the Geminid meteor shower? 


Most meteors are linked back to comets, but the Geminids are a different story. This annual shower occurs every December as Earth passes through a trail of debris from an asteroid called 3200 Phaethon. When fragments of the asteroid travel through our planet’s upper atmosphere, they burn out and transform into bold and bright white meteors. 


Watch the Geminid Meteor Shower LIVE


Like all meteor showers, the Geminids are visible to the naked eye. So, telescopes aren’t required. But if weather conditions are less than stellar in your area, despair not. You’ll be able to witness this glittering spectacle via livestream on slooh.com.  


Who will have the best view in Canada? 


As of now, stargazers in Manitoba and Ontario will have the best viewing conditions of the upcoming shower. 

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