How to watch one of the most spectacular meteor showers of the year this weekend

Photo: YouTube/NASA.

One of the most spectacular meteor showers of the year will peak tonight in Australia.

The Geminid meteor shower happens every year around this time, as the Earth passes through the tail of debris from a small asteroid called 3200 Phaethon. When chunks of asteroid debris hit our atmosphere, they burn up and create streaks of light across the sky that look like shooting stars.

The meteor shower will be able to be seen from after 11pm (AEST) on Monday but it will be most visible between 2am and 4am on Tuesday morning.

Viewers will be able to see 120 meteors per hour (about two every minute), NASA predicts. You should be able to see the meteors across the whole sky, but they’ll originate near a star called Castor in the east.

Sometimes the Geminid meteor shower puts on an even better light show than the well-known Perseid meteor shower that happens in July and August. Lucky for you, dear reader, this year is one of those years. This year’s Geminids should be particularly impressive since they peak just a few days after a new moon and the sky will be nice and dark.

Your best chance to see meteors is to get yourself far away from city lights. The meteors should be visible across the whole sky, but you’ll need to give your eyes time to adjust before you see any.

If you can’t escape the city, the online observatory in the US SLOOH will be live streaming the meteor shower.

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