Remember to Make A Wish… Or Thirty

Fellow astronomy geeks – or insomniacs who like shiny things – prepare to get excited! The annual Geminid meteor shower will peak in the early hours of next Wednesday morning (the night of 14/15 December). However, you’ll have to drag yourself out of bed to view it, as the peak is between 2-4am Adelaide time. The showers, which are caused by an asteroid in the belt between Mars and Jupiter, are so named because they appear to originate from the constellation of Gemini near the northern horizon. Viewers in Adelaide can expect to see about 30 meteors an hour, but as many as 100 per hour may be visible.

The best viewing spots are from the country or the side of a mountain, as the light pollution from the city reduces visibility from the ground. Viewing from a mountainside allows for a wider view of the sky and some elevation above the light pollution. Ideal viewing points around the metropolitan area include locations such as Windy Point Lookout, Lions Park Scenic Lookout in Wynn Vale, viewing spots along Mt Osmond Road on Mt Osmond and anywhere you can see a broad swathe of sky without streetlights glaring into your eyes.

 Don’t bother bringing a telescope – telescopes take a small area of sky and make it appear closer, but the point is to be able to see as much of the sky as possible. Position yourself so that the horizion is in your peripheral view, with the sky and stars in your field of sight. Choose a dark but safe spot and remember to let your eyes get fully accustomed to the darkness; as they do, your ability to see shooting stars blaze across the sky will increase.

The shower builds and then gradually weakens over several days, so the nights either side of the peak should also provide for some fairly speccy viewing, particularly after midnight when the moon has set.

Remember to share it with other tweeps using the #Geminids and #Adelaide hashtags!

More News

To Top