If you’re a fan of stargazing, you’re going to have a treat this weekend, as the ‘best meteor shower of the year’ is at the top.
Every December the Geminids meteor shower occurs when the earth shakes through a huge path of dusty debris burned by a rocky object called the 3200 Phaethon.
And on top of that, there may be one or two meteors per hour, so you’ll have a very good chance.
The best part about Geminids is that you can see it with the naked eye so you don’t need an expensive telescope or camera to enjoy it.
Speaking to Bell Fa St Live, Terry Mosley of the Irish Astronomical Association revealed the best time to see a shooting star this weekend.
He said: “It is the richest and best meteor shower of the year which means there are more meteors per hour than any other shower.
“The other good thing about this special show is that you get more hours of darkness than other times of the year.
“Anyone will be able to show it from 9 a.m. to early the next morning.”
And Terry says people should be properly prepared if they plan to spend their Saturday and Sunday nights outside.
“This time of year can feel quite cold so if you go out to observe, you should embrace the warmth and protect yourself against the elements.”
“If the sky is clear, the meteor appears to be coming from the east in the early evening before moving further westward in the morning.
“But it doesn’t really matter where you like to look because they are so frequent that you can easily distinguish one from Gemini.”
“People should focus their attention on the clean and dark areas around them.
“If people want to see a meteor shower with the best view, the best thing to do is to move away from the big city or town. Go somewhere in the dark away from the streetlights.”
According to the US space agency NASA, the event is one of the most reliable annual meteor showers of the year.
They said: “Geminids have been producing meteorites for most of the year, but this year they have been made even better as the summits of the showers almost meet the new moon (meteors.)
“On the night of December 13th, some meteors were seen at the top of the Geminids, east of the 14th and in the days before, with activity around 2pm local time towards the local hemisphere, and after midnight it is good to see the Northern Hemisphere all night for visitors to the Southern Hemisphere.
For the best view, look for a safe location away from bright city lights, flatten your feet pointing south and look up.
“Meteors can appear in any part of the sky, although they appear to be scattering from near the Gemini star. So here you are wishing for a clear sky to catch a few shooting stars.”
And if you miss the Geminids, thanks to the Ursid Meteor Shower, you’ll have one more chance to see the shooting star in December.
The waterfall will peak on the evening of December 21, with 5-10 meteors per hour at this time.