This year, as long as the cloud cover stays away, observers can expect to see upward of 100 shooting stars per hour, with the best time to watch being after midnight when the First Quarter Moon has set. With the moon dipped below the horizon, the darker skies should mean more meteors can be seen.
The Geminids are created from the embers of a disintegrating asteroid and appear in the night sky near the constellation of Gemini the Twins, hence their name. Tiny specks of dust hit the Earth’s atmosphere at about 126,000km/h and vaporize from friction with the air – thus appearing as the streaks of light that we call shooting stars.
Sadly, at this time of year the Geminids are better seen in the skies of the Northern Hemisphere, so all of us south of the equator will miss out. For all you keen meteor watchers on the upper side of the globe, find yourselves a dark field somewhere away from city lights, take along a garden chair, wrap up very warm indeed, take along a steaming hot flask of tea, and sit back and enjoy the spectacle!