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

A Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation guardian took this photo of dozens of vehicles parked along a forest service road in the Kennedy watershed. (Submitted photo)
POLL QUESTION: Would you like to see stricter enforcement towards illegal camping?

Would you like to see stricter enforcement towards illegal camping? READ MORE:… Continue reading

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Employers might be able to require COVID-19 vaccination from employees: B.C. lawyer

‘An employer must make the case’ using expert science, explains lawyer David Mardiros

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the legislature, Jan. 11, 2021. (B.C. government)
Vancouver Island smashes COVID-19 high: 47 new cases in a day

Blowing past previous records, Vancouver Island is not matching B.C.s downward trend

Stand up paddleboarder Christie Jamieson kneels as a pod of transient orcas put on a dramatic show on Jan. 19 in the Ucluelet Harbour. (Nora O’Malley photo)
UPDATED: Vancouver Island paddle boarder’s orca encounter brings joy and outrage

Woman’s ‘best day’ criticized for disturbing the whales

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Nanaimo hospital

Two staff members and one patient have tested positive, all on the same floor

A long-term care worker receives the Pfizer vaccine at a clinic in Nanaimo earlier this month. (Island Health photo)
All Island seniors in long-term care will be vaccinated by the end of this weekend

Immunization of high-risk population will continue over the next two months

Most Read