'Flurry of shooting stars' to light up the sky


The Geminid meteor shower will send awe-inspiring streaks of light across the night sky in the last major spectacle of its kind in 2018.

These meteor showers occur in December each year when our planet passes through the tail of the debris from 3200 Phaethon.

The lovely Aurora Borealis photobombed by the Geminids shower!

According to NASA, watching the shower is pretty easy, provided you can get yourself somewhere really, really dark.

But if you won't be up in those early hours, you can also start watching a couple hours after sunset; the moon will set at about 10:30 p.m. local time on December 13, and about 11 p.m. local time on December 14, so just look after that on either of those nights.

As you go through your phone withdrawal, lie flat on your back and look straight up, taking in as much sky as possible.

Of course, that's all if you're in the countryside.

NASA's meteor expert Bill Cooke has told Space.com that the 2018 Geminids have the potential to be the best meteor shower of the year.

Meteorological departments recommend that the best view shall be seen once the radiant gets higher in the night sky.

The Geminids are unusual in that they are not shed by a classic icy comet but a body that shares characteristics of both comets and asteroids.

This particular meteor show is called the Geminids because it seems to radiate from the constellation of Gemini.

The comet will be visible to the naked eye when it flies by Sunday. Peaking around 13-14 December each year, the meteor shower tends to be noticeable during the early hours of 14 December.

According to NASA, the first Geminid meteor shower was spotted in 1862, surprising astronomers.

Where to watch Geminid Meteor Shower? This region passes almost overhead from mid-northern latitudes around 2 a.m. local time, although conditions remain excellent from the time the Moon sets until morning twilight commences.

Mostly cloudy skies will likely hamper tonight's view of these Geminids.

Dust. All that happens is that Earth is moving through a stream of dust and particles left over from the passing of a comet through the solar system.

It's that time of the year when sky gazers are in for a colourful treat, as the debris trail of the Phaethon asteroid becomes visible on Earth.

The shower will be clearest across Ireland tonight, but will make its closest approach on December 16- so if you don't catch it tonight, there's time to catch a glimpse during the week.