Advertisement

‘Must-see event’: Geminid meteor shower to peak on evening of Dec. 13

Click to play video: 'Geminid Meteor shower to light up the night sky'
Geminid Meteor shower to light up the night sky
WATCH: Photographer Tim Yaworski with tips on how to take the best photos of the Geminid meteor shower taking place this week – Dec 10, 2023

Call it an early present from the galaxy: An annual meteor shower a dozen days before Christmas.

On the evening of Dec. 13, and running into the morning hours of Dec. 14, the Geminid meteor shower will peak as it briefly lights up the night sky.

According to Gary Boyle of Ottawa, a well-known astronomy educator, the shower — which began Nov. 19 and ends Dec. 24 — will produce up to 120 meteors per hour with some bright fireballs.

Click to play video: 'Timelapse of Perseid meteor shower'
Timelapse of Perseid meteor shower

“Annual meteor showers are produced when Earth crosses debris fields from comets as we orbit the sun,” said Boyle, who said it’s a must-see event. “This is why various showers occur at the same time each year.

Story continues below advertisement

“In the case of the Geminids, Earth will encounter tiny sand-sized particles from the asteroid 3200 Phaethon, with some gravel size pieces producing bright dramatic fireballs that will light up the sky as well as the ground.”

Breaking news from Canada and around the world sent to your email, as it happens.

Boyle says the meteors will harmlessly vaporize around 80 km above the ground. He added that they’ll be travelling at a relatively slow speed of 35 km per second, noting that meteors in the Perseid shower in August travelled twice that speed.

Notably, the lunar calendar is calling for a new moon on Dec. 12, meaning the moon won’t be visible, leading to a darker-than-normal sky.

Click to play video: 'Edmonton resident discovers meteorite found on his rooftop'
Edmonton resident discovers meteorite found on his rooftop

According to one website, EarthSky.org, “the bold, white, bright Geminids give us one of the Northern Hemisphere’s best showers, especially in years when there’s no moon.”

Some meteors will be seen starting around 7 p.m., with more arriving throughout the night.

Story continues below advertisement

Weather forecasts for regions across B.C. range wildly. One forecast has clear skies while another has mostly cloudy skies. For Alberta, partly cloudy skies at night are projected for Calgary and Edmonton.

Sponsored content

AdChoices