Shooting stars to streak Thursday night sky

By Sheena Amos

DUBAI 11 December 2018: The Geminids are usually the strongest meteor showers of the year and meteor enthusiasts are certain to circle December 13 and 14 on their calendars,” according to the American Meteor Society.

There may be up to 120 multi-colored meteors per hour, said Accuweather.

When to look for the Geminids: Though Geminids will peak on Thursday night into early Friday morning, you should be able to spot plenty of meteors on the nights leading up to the shower’s peak.

Meteors are also visible during the evening hours.

“Most meteor showers tend to have better meteor rates after midnight, but the Geminids will be very active all night,“ AccuWeather Astronomy blogger Dave Samuhel said.

However, the best viewing conditions will arrive after midnight when the hourly meteor rate increases and after the moon has set.

“It is advised to keep your back to the bright moon so that your eyes can adjust to the darkness,” the American Meteor Society said.

The moon will set by 11 p.m. local time Thursday night. Once it sets, the lower light pollution will make it easier to spot some of the dimmer meteors.

Tips for viewing: A few simple tips, such as going to an area away from city lights, can allow observers to see more shooting starts.

One common misconception is that people need to look in a certain part of the sky to see meteors, when in fact meteors will able to be seen in all areas of the sky.

“The best way to see the most meteors is simply to see as much of the sky as possible. The easiest way to do this is to lie flat on your back, in a lounge/lawn chair for example,” Samuhel said.

“You will also want to dedicate at least 45 minutes to an hour to get the most out of your meteor shower experience. Your eyes need a solid half hour to adjust. Then give yourself another half hour to take in the meteors,” Samuhel added.

“The meteor shower is triggered by an interesting object. 3200 Phaethon is a comet/asteroid hybrid. It orbits the sun every 550+ days. This object puts out a fresh batch of debris every other year. This makes the Geminid meteor shower very consistent. Some argue it is actually increasing in intensity,” Samuhel said.

Those that miss this week’s Geminid meteor shower will have to wait until 2020 for another good showing as the peak of next year’s Geminids falls during a full moon, said Accuweather.

Dubai Gazette