KATHMANDU, DECEMBER 13
Geminid meteor shower, which is considered to be one of the major meteor showers, is all set to peak on December 14-15 in our corner of the world. So be sure to catch a handful of meteors when they ‘shower’ this time around.
Generally, it is preferable to watch the shower when the radiant (point in sky from where the meteors appear to originate) is high up in the sky. In this part of the globe, the radiant will be at its highest altitude at around 1:45 am tonight (Monday) and tomorrow (Tuesday) night.
However, it is not an absolute necessity to only look at the radiant point as the shower can be observed anywhere in the sky, albeit not as clearly as seen at the radiant.
Meanwhile, the company of the moon may pose as a challenge as its brightness may reduce the visibility of the shower. The skygazers can still catch some meteors, or fireballs, if lucky.
Tonight, the moon is 74 % lit with waxing gibbous moon above our head, which will rise at 1:38 and reach its meridian at 19:56.
Tomorrow, the moon will be 82.5 % lit and its meridian passing time will be at 20:37.
It is, thus, recommended for enthusiasts to observe the Geminid meteor shower before dawn.
Though it is given that we can see 150 meteors per hour at peak, even with the existing challenges, it is possible to catch at least 50 meteors in an hour.
The gemini constellation rises at around 7 pm, from the east, hence, following the constellation (or the two bright starts – Castor and Pollux of Gemini) after sunset can help the watchers catch some view.
The origin of Geminid meteor shower is thought to be ‘3200 Phaethon’ which is a rock comet. The debris shed by 3200 Phaethon is said to crash into Earth’s upper atmosphere which when vaporised gives us colorful Geminid meteors.