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All about the Geminids Meteor Shower and when to watch in Australia?

Posted by Chava Whibberley

All about the Geminids Meteor Shower and when to watch in Australia?

With what is set to be one of the brightest meteor shows of 2017, the Chewy Crew thought we would put together a guide for all of our outdoor loving enthusiasts to get the most out of the last shower of the year.

Geminid meteor taken at Bowna, New South Wales, Australia, on Dec. 13, 2014.
Image Credit:  Astrophotographer Petra de. Ruyter Image Source:  Space.com 

What are the Geminids?

The Geminids Meteor Shower is almost 200 years old and is visible across the Earth every December. Though named after the Gemini constellation the firework magic we see is in fact the fragments of 3200 Phaethon asteroid which has tail debris that orbit our sun. Earthsky.org reckons “In 2017, 3200 Phaethon will be exceedingly nearby around nights of the Geminid meteor shower’s peak. This object will sweep close to Earth – just 0.069 astronomical units (6.4 million miles, 10.3 million km, 26 lunar-distances) on December 16, 2017”. This could be one of the brightest meteor showers this year, get excited!

How to get the best view?

As meteor showers are so bright they don’t require you to get out the binoculars (free hands for Chewy Mooey), instead you can grab a rug and lay down to enjoy one of the best shows around the planet. Usually it takes about 20-30 minutes for your eyes to adjust to the darkness and you will want to be somewhere away from the city lights. Seasoned start gazers say it’s best to flicker your eyes back and forth in the night sky, so it may be best to bring a buddy to help keep a look out (and far more fun, call out "Meteor" when you see one or two or three).

Star Gazing Car
                 
Meteor Lady
                

Perth Observatory will be holding a special Geminids session tonight from 11pm to 2am (peak viewing time being between 1.30am – 2.00am on the 14th December) find out more here.

Did I mention that the 14th is also the premier for Star Wars - The Last Jedi, coincidence not, I think! (Also if you love Yoda check out this bad lip reading video, turn on the sound for this one)

Perth Observatory

Where to Look?

The Geminids appear to come from close to the bright star Castor, one of the two brightest stars in Gemini (hence the name "Geminids") zodiac constellation. Gemini can found below the constellation of Orion, as seen from the southern hemisphere.

Perth viewing times

The Geminid radiant travels across the northern sky, as seen from Perth. Source: Lifehacker.com

When To Watch?

The Geminids Meteor shower will last a total of three days 13th-15th December 2017, rising and then building to a peak. The peak lasts for a little over a day before declining in meteor numbers for the rest of the shower.

Here are the Geminids rising times for major cities across the country:
Perth 8pm 11 meteors/hr
Darwin 9:30pm 16 meteors/hr
Brisbane 10pm 11 meteors/hr
Adelaide 10:30pm 9 meteors/hr
Sydney 11pm 9 meteors/hr
Canberra 11pm 9 meteors/hr
Melbourne 11pm 8 meteors/hr
Hobart 11pm 6 meteors/hr

Peak time is when you want to be setting your alarm for, though. This will happen in the early hours of Thursday 14 December.
Perth 2am 27 meteors/hr
Darwin 3:30am 41 meteors/hr
Brisbane 4am 27 meteors/hr
Adelaide 4:30am 22 meteors/hr
Sydney 5am 22 meteors/hr
Canberra 5am 22 meteors/hr
Melbourne 5am 19 meteors/hr
Hobart 5am 14 meteors/hr

Source: Gizmodo

So grab some of your nearest and dearest and watch nature at its best! Don’t forget to grab your favourite midnight Chewy Mooey snack from one of our stockists, you can find your closest here.

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