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UK awaits annual Geminid meteor display

UK awaits annual Geminid meteor display

Star gazers in the Earth’s northern hemisphere, and in particular the UK , are about to witness the Geminid meteor shower which starts Sunday

One of the most dazzling celestial displays of the year is due the start its ten day night show with more than 100 shooting stars per hour.

Your best chance of seeing them is between 10pm and 3am. A predicted cold snap means there is a good chance of clear night skies.

A spokesman for the Met Office said: “To see the meteor shower, you don’t need a telescope, binoculars or any other equipment – all you need is your eyes. You don’t need to look in any particular direction as meteors appear randomly anywhere in the sky.”

RT reports: The meteor shower will start on Sunday and peak on December 13 and 14. Sky gazers should expect an astronomical display of awe-inspiring show of “shooting stars” of bright fireballs, as they relatively slow-glide through the night sky. The Germinids perform excellently as a rule, under bright, crisp, clear winter skies.

Meteor showers are annual phenomena which happen when the Earth crosses paths with a swarm of space debris, which burns up upon reaching the Earth’s atmosphere, causing “shooting stars” to appear. The meteoroids causing the Germinids were left by an asteroid 3200 Phaethon – one of two meteor showers not originating from a comet.

Urban dwellers would do themselves a favor by getting far away from big city lights and viewing the meteor shower in the wilderness. No equipment is usually needed because a telescope or binoculars just narrow the view.

The Geminid shower got its name from the constellation of Gemini, the Twins. On the night of its peak the meteors start to emanate from a spot in the sky near the bright star Castor in Gemini. This shower is less known than another annual meteoric performance named the Perseids, in part because December weather often hinders a clear view of the spectacle.