When is it and how to see the Geminids?

  • The Geminid shower comes from the constellation Gemini and its maximum is expected at dawn on December 14.
  • This year the new moon will accompany the observation, so you can enjoy this meteor shower in all its intensity.
  • During this month of December some astronomical events such as the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn and a solar eclipse come together.

One of the most spectacular rains of the year occurs during the month of December: the rain of geminids. These meteors come from the constellation gemini And, like every year, they will show their peak of activity in mid-December. This 2020 the activity will take place between December 4 and 17, and the maximum is expected early morning of December 14.

The nights of December 12-13 and 13-14 will also be a good time to observe the meteor shower, as they will be more visible.

They come from the asteroid Phaethon

According to Astronomical Association of Spain, It is a rather curious shower, since the meteors come from a asteroid called Phaeton, not from a comet. The asteroid Phaethon was discovered in 1983 by the IRAS satellite, and that was when it was related that the Geminids came from it. It is the first rain that is related to an asteroid.

In addition, from the Astronomical Association they also explain that this rain throws an approximate number of 120 meteors per hour.

How to observe the Geminids

The Geminids is an easy shower to see from the North Hemisphere, since it is located in the radiant at + 33º north latitude, so we can enjoy it throughout the night. It is one of the few rains whose radiant output coincides with sunset, so it is practically observed All night long.

This year the new Moon It will accompany the observation, so you can enjoy this meteor shower in all its intensity. It is convenient to fix your gaze on an area of ​​the sky and hold it for at least a few minutes to be able to observe a Geminid. You have to stay in a dark place – free from the light pollution produced by cities – and with clear horizons. It is recommended to lie on the ground, wear warm clothes and, above all, be patient.

The Geminids is a rain that can be observed from both hemispheres, but in the northern hemisphere the activity will be greater, because the radiant will be higher above the horizon.

Live from some observatories

On the nights of December 12 and 13, you can fully enjoy the Geminid Meteor Shower, an event that will be broadcast live from the Teide Observatory (Tenerife) and from the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory (La Palma) across the canal sky-live.tv. The broadcast will be carried out in collaboration with the Energy Efficiency Laboratories (EELabs) project, the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) and the SODEPAL Astronomical Dissemination Program and the Cabildo de La Palma Innovation Service.

Astronomical events to say goodbye to the year

In addition to the Geminid rain, during the night of December 14 in the sky of some areas of South America the total solar eclipse.

During this month of December we will also be able to observe after the sunset the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn on December 21, which will be when they reach the minimum distance between them. The Federation of Astronomical Associations of Spain has collected on its website some of the observatories, amateur astronomers and universities that have been organized to offer media, disseminate and encourage participation in the observation of this ‘Giants Meeting’.

And, to say goodbye to the year, last Full Moon of 2020 It will be visible the night of December 29.

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