The most active meteor shower of 2018 will race through the sky on Thursday night/ Friday morning, with over a hundred meteors per hour in what is known as the Geminid shower.
The Geminid meteor shower – always a highlight of the meteor year – will peak around 2am in the morning, wherever you are in the world. This shower favours the Northern Hemisphere, but is visible from the Southern Hemisphere too.
France’s current cold crisp weather may deter you from standing outside too long in the middle of the night, but these clear skies make it perfect for meteor watching. And you will be rewarded for braving the elements with up to 120 multi-colored meteors per hour. Last year, there were at times 160 meteors per hour.
In addition to being the biggest meteor shower of the year, this is also one of the few showers where meteors are even visible during the evening hours. However, the best viewing conditions will arrive after midnight when the hourly meteor rate increases.
“In 2018, the waxing crescent moon will be present in the evening sky. Geminid meteors can be seen with the moon in the sky, but it is advised to keep your back to the bright moon so that your eyes can adjust to the darkness,” the American Meteor Society said.
One common misconception is that people need to look in a certain part of the sky to see meteors, when in fact meteors will able to be seen in all areas of the sky.
If you miss this week’s Geminid meteor shower, you will have to wait until 2020 for another good showing as the peak of next year’s Geminids falls during a full moon.