On Friday evening the Geminid meteor shower will be visible, known as one of the brightest showers of the year. (Unsplash)

Fireballs to fill the sky Friday for brightest meteor shower of the year

Geminid meteor shower features colourful, brighter, longer shooting stars

Grab a group of friends, a blanket and head to a dark field away from the city this weekend for the chance to see fireballs falling from space during the year’s brightest meteor shower.

The Geminids are visible every December as Earth passes through the massive trail of debris shed by an asteroid named 3200 Phaethon. Kaurn Thanjavur, a senior astronomy lab instructor at University of Victoria, says the meteor shower is named after the direction the shooting stars come from — the constellation of Gemini.

READ ALSO: Photographer captures Perseid meteor shower over Shuswap

Thanjavur says the Geminids are special and explains that normally shooting stars come from comets, often referred to as dirty snowballs, which are made of up of rock and ice. The Geminids are coming from an asteroid meaning the shooting stars are made of rock and will be more colourful and brighter for longer because they don’t burn up as quickly.

“There’s a high chance of seeing fireballs,” he says, adding they should be visible for several seconds. “If you’re fairly quick, you can even get a picture of those meteors.”

READ ALSO: UVic astronomers help discover new planet

According to Thanjavur the best time to view the shower is from 11 p.m. on Friday to 2 a.m. on Saturday. “It’s nice to have few people together so everyone scans in a different direction and calls out when they see one of the fireballs,” he says.

And even if you don’t see any shooting stars, Thanjavur says it’s a great time to observe the Gemini constellation, which makes the twins. In order to find Gemini you’ll need to locate the twin stars — Castor and Pollux — which mark the heads of the twins.

According to NASA, waiting until about 10:30 p.m. when the moon’s light is less bright is best in order to see the more faint meteors, which are more numerous. Find the darkest place you can, give your eyes 30 minutes to adapt to the dark and avoid looking at your phone. Lie flat on your back with a view of the sky from horizon to horizon, taking in as much of the sky as possible and you’ll begin to see the shooting stars.

To see a collection of Geminid photos from NASA’s community visit bit.ly/38nBl0T.



kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge seniors honoured in novel ways for Seniors’ Week

Traditional gatherings are out, but local seniors groups wanted to mark the occasion

LETTER: Most take on healthcare to save lives, not get more money

Reader disturbed by call local person’s call for hazard pay during COVID

LETTER: Different view questions mandated social distancing

Look at the science behind herd immunity versus current approach to curtailing COVID

LETTER: Verbal attack on foreign workers disturbing

Racist and derogatory comments on social media disheartening and disappointing to Maple Ridge native

LETTER: How about a fashion contest for COVID face gear

Not trying to make light of the pandemic, but how about a community competition, no age limit

VIDEO: Injured bald eagle rescued in B.C. First Nations community

Bird suspected injured in fight, whisked off to Coquitlam rehab

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Thanks for helping The News to continue its mission to provide trusted local news

B.C.’s Central Kootenay region declares state of emergency, issues evacuation orders

The evacuation alert covers all areas except the Cities of Castelgar and Nelson

‘I’m afraid’: Witnesses of wolf attack on senior near Prince Rupert worried about safety

Frank Russ shows where the unprovoked wolf attacked his father

Protesters prepare to rally against racism in front of Vancouver Art Gallery

Rally is in response to the deaths of black Americans and a Toronto woman

Protesters rally against anti-black, Indigenous racism in Toronto

Police estimated the crowd to be between 3,500 and 4,000 and said there was no violence

Feds earmark $1.5M to support recovery of B.C., Indigenous tourism

B.C. money will be split between Vancouver Island and Indigenous tourism

‘We’re sick of it’: Anger over police killings shatters U.S.

Tens of thousands marched to protest the death of George Floyd

Police watchdog investigating death of man in Delta

Independent Investigations Office asking for witnesses to May 29 incident at Tsawwassen ferry terminal

Most Read