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

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

Cowichan Valley Capitals forward Sean Ramsay comes away with the puck after a battle along the boards during a game against the Alberni Valley Bulldogs on May 1, 2021. (Elena Rardon/Black Press Media)
Three wins in a row for Cowichan Capitals

BCHL team enjoying best stretch of the season

Friends have set up a GoFundMe account for the family of Dorothy Littau, who was diagnosed with colon cancer last month. (Submitted)
GoFundMe campaign set up ‘ever-present force in South Cowichan schools’

Dorothy Littau was diagnosed with colon cancer in April

Peter and Wayne Richmond and 49th Parallel Grocery won the award for Business Achievement 20+ Employees at the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce’s 22nd Black Tie Awards on Tuesday, May 4, 2021. (Submitted)
Black Tie winners announced during virtual awards event

Recipients gave speeches by phone while being live-streamed on YouTube

Cobble Hill’s Bob Collins (left) and reservist Keenan Hayes stand at attention at Cobble Hill Cenotaph in this photo taken on Oct. 22, 2019, to honour members of the Canadian military who died in Canada in non-combat roles. (File photo)
MacGregor seeks to honour armed services members who died on Canadian soil

MP introduces bill to mark Oct. 22 as “Canadian Armed Forces Members’ Day”

Jose Marchand prepares Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination doses at a mobile clinic for members of First Nations and their partners, in Montreal, Friday, April 30, 2021. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization is coming under fire after contradicting the advice Canadians have been receiving for weeks to take the first vaccine against COVID-19 that they’re offered. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Trudeau says he is glad he got AstraZeneca, vaccines are only way out of pandemic

‘The most important thing is to get vaccinated with the first vaccine offered to you’

B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Dip in COVID-19 cases with 572 newly announced in B.C.

No new deaths have been reported but hospitalized patients are up to 481, with 161 being treated in intensive care

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O���Connell photo)
Clash between loggers, activists halts forestry operations over Fairy Creek

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

The courthouse in Nanaimo, B.C. (News Bulletin file)
Island man sentenced in Nanaimo after causing a dog unnecessary pain and suffering

Kiefer Tyson Giroux, 26, of Nanoose Bay, given six-month sentence

Following a one-year pause due to the pandemic, the Snowbirds were back in the skies over the Comox Valley Wednesday (May 5) morning. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Video: Snowbirds hold first training session in Comox Valley in more than 2 years

The team will conduct their training from May 4 to 26 in the area

Solar panels on a parking garage at the University of B.C. will be used to separate water into oxygen and hydrogen, the latter captured to supply a vehicle filling station. (UBC video)
UBC parkade project to use solar energy for hydrogen vehicles

Demonstration project gets $5.6M in low-carbon fuel credits

FILE – A student arrives at school as teachers dressed in red participate in a solidarity march to raise awareness about cases of COVID-19 at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. ‘should be able to’ offer 1st dose of COVID vaccine to kids 12+ by end of June: Henry

Health Canada authorized the vaccine for younger teens this morning

A woman in the Harrison Mills area was attacked by a cougar on Tuesday, May 4. B.C. Conservation Officers killed two male cougars in the area; the attack was determined to be predatory in nature. (File photo)
2 cougars killed following attack on woman in Agassiz area

Attack victim remains in hospital in stable condition

Most Read