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How to see the Geminid meteor shower

What is the Geminid meteor shower, when does it happen in 2023 and how can I see it?See the world’s greatest space photography

The Geminid meteor shower is one of the last of the year’s major showers, and can generally be relied on to put on a good display.

In 2023, the Geminid meteor shower will be active between 4-20 December and will peak on 14-15 December.

What is the Geminid meteor shower?

Meteors are pieces of debris which enter our planet’s atmosphere at speeds of up to 70 kilometres per second, vaporising and causing the streaks of light we call meteors.Image

Gemini meteor shower by Sutie Yang, Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2018

The meteors of the Geminid meteor shower are very bright, moderately fast, and are unusual in being multi-coloured – mainly white, some yellow and a few green, red and blue. These colours are partly caused by the presence of traces of metals like sodium and calcium, the same effect that is used to make fireworks colourful.

The shower has been known produce over 150 meteors per hour at its peak, although light pollution and other factors mean that in reality, the actual number visible is far less.Image

Geminids meteors appear to radiate from near the bright star Castor in the constellation Gemini. However, the actual source of the shooting stars is a stream of debris left behind by asteroid 3200 Phaethon, making this one of the only major showers not to originate from a comet.

When is the Geminid meteor shower in 2023?

Geminids14-15 December4-20 December150Plenty of bright meteors, few trains