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How to see the Geminid meteor shower in December 2021 which is expected to peak on Tuesday morning



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It's the final meteor shower of 2021 and some believe - with the right conditions - it can be one of the best.

And if you wrap up warm and don't mind a very late night or early morning start you could be in with the chance of seeing a spectacular light show in the night sky.

The Geminid meteor shower actually began on December 4 and is expected to last until December 17.

The Germinids meteor shower is expected to peak around December 14 in the early hours
The Germinids meteor shower is expected to peak around December 14 in the early hours

However the streaks of light are expected to peak on Monday, December 13 with the optimum time to catch the best display likely to be around 3am on Tuesday, December 14.

According to NASA's stargazing blog, the Geminids can make for the “strongest meteor shower of the year” alongside being one that can be seen without the need for binoculars and telescopes if you don't own them.

The event is caused by an asteroid called 3200 Phaethon and as it passes closer to Earth debris from it scatters into space which then appears as bright flashes as it burns up in the atmosphere.

Stargazers are gearing up for December's meteor shower
Stargazers are gearing up for December's meteor shower

Here - with the ideal weather conditions - stargazers may spot up to 60 meteors shooting through the sky every hour.

If you're keen to see the display in all its glory here's some tips for catching the Geminid meteor shower on Tuesday morning:

The meteor shower, if conditions are right, might lead to around 50 to 60 meteors an hour
The meteor shower, if conditions are right, might lead to around 50 to 60 meteors an hour

1. Check the weather forecast

As with all stargazing events, a clear sky provides the most ideal viewing conditions so if you're planning on staying up late - or getting up early - it would be worth checking a thorough forecast beforehand to make sure your efforts aren't wasted.

2. Head out early

The peak of the meteor shower is expected to be around 3am but astronomers suggest you'll see a lot more if you let your eyes adjust to the dark first so try and give yourself around 30 minutes outside beforehand for your eyes to get used to your surroundings.

Avoid light pollution when looking for meteors. Picture: Stock photo
Avoid light pollution when looking for meteors. Picture: Stock photo

3. Find a dark spot

Alongside clear skies you need dark ones in order to see the very best of the meteor shower so be sure to find a spot that isn't badly affected by surrounding light pollution and is some distance from street, town or city lights. Dark clear skies are the 'most important ingredient' say NASA experts in observing meteor showers successfully.

4. Wrap up warm

A clear unobstructed view of the sky will give you the best possible chance of seeing the maximum number of meteors but this might also mean standing in the open air for some time. Don't leave home without extra layers, water bottles or even sleeping bags if you think you're going to hunker down under the night sky for a while.

5. If all else fails turn to NASA

If it's too cloudy, not dark enough or you just can't face a 3am start to your day then you don't need to miss out completely on seeing such a spectacle. NASA is expected to stream some of the best displays by the Geminids via its NASA Meteor Watch facebook page. To follow along click here.



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