Geminid meteor shower 2022 – live: Biggest ‘shooting stars’ event of the year peaks tonight

Geminid meteor shower 2022 – live: Biggest ‘shooting stars’ event of the year peaks tonight

The Geminid meteor shower is peaking on Wednesday night, with bright dazzling ‘shooting stars’ streaking across the sky.

The celestial event happens every December, though 2022 brings excellent viewing conditions across most of the UK.

It is unusual in that it is caused by the debris left behind by an asteroid. When the Earth moves through that trail of debris, the pieces smash into our atmosphere and light up as they do, appearing as streaking stars across the sky.

Usually, as many as 150 meteors per hour can be seen in the show, which makes it among the best of the year for actually spotting a meteor.

This year, the brightness of the Moon will have a slightly diminishing effect, with Nasa predicting between 30-40 meteors per hour.

Forecasts from the UK Met Office suggest ideal weather conditions on Wednesday night, with clear skies across most parts of the UK.

Key points

  • How to see the Geminids meteor shower

  • How to capture the Geminid Meteor Shower 2022

  • Where to watch meteor shower from

Photographs of Geminids appear on Twitter

01:14 , Graeme Massie

How to see the Geminid meteor shower

22:04 , Graeme Massie

Here’s our full guide for spotting the Geminid meteor shower tonight.

Best time to see Geminid Meteor Shower 2022 in the UK

20:10 , Anthony Cuthbertson

Most of the UK and Ireland currently has remarkably good weather for viewing the Geminid Meteor Shower tonight, according to the latest forecasts from the Met Office.

Here’s how the weather map currently looks:

 (Met Office)
(Met Office)

For anyone on the south coast or in East Anglia, don’t lose heart. The skies will clear as the night goes on, with the best views on offer in the early hours. Equally, anyone in Ireland are better off going outside now to check out the shower, as they might not have much longer to do so,

This is the current forecast from the Met Office for 5am:

 (Met Office)
(Met Office)

How to capture the Geminid Meteor Shower 2022

19:30 , Anthony Cuthbertson

Professional photographers have given their tips for capturing the Geminid meteor shower, with all saying that some kind of tripod to steady the camera is essential.

It’s worth using a tripod for taking pictures with a smartphone too, as any camera shake can compromise the quality of the pictures – but if you don’t have one to hand you can simply rest your phone on a window ledge

Arguably the best technique is to use a timelapse feature on your camera or smartphone, though for anyone without those capabilities then there are some other methods that can help capture shooting stars.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

David Reneke, an astronomer and writer for Australian science magazine advises anyone using an SLR or DSLR camera to play with aperture settings on your camera to photograph the night sky.

Burst settings can also capture multiple photos at once.

For older smartphones that use a digital zoom rather than an optical zoom, it’s generally best not to use the zoom as it could compromise the quality of the image. Instead, take the picture and then crop it.

Newer phones feature incredible zoom capabilities that can take detailed pictures of far away objects. Other cameras come with special features to improve pictures of the night sky, such as the Google Pixel’s Astro mode.

Weather forecast suggests clear skies across most of the UK

15:02 , Anthony Cuthbertson

The weather could almost not be better for a December evening, with the UK Met Office forecasting clear skies across most parts of the country this evening.

Other than parts of Cornwall and Devon, people in England and Wales should be able to expect a good showing once the Sun goes down. Unfortunately, conditions in north-easterly Scotland and Northern Ireland don’t look ideal.

Here’s how the weather will look at 10pm GMT tonight, according to the Met Office’s latest forecast:

 (UK Met Office)
(UK Met Office)

Shower is peaking – and there’s just a couple of days left

12:34 , Andrew Griffin

The true peak of the meteor shower is early on 14 December. There’s still some time to see it, though – but not much time. The last opportunity is 17 December, though there won’t be many to see then.

Nasa image shows Geminids at their peak

12:33 , Andrew Griffin

This image, taken in 2014, shows what a good night of Geminids looks like. More than 100 meteors can be seen in the composite image.

Over 100 meteors are recorded in this composite image taken during the peak of the Geminid meteor shower in 2014 (Jacobs Space Exploration Group/ESSCA)
Over 100 meteors are recorded in this composite image taken during the peak of the Geminid meteor shower in 2014 (Jacobs Space Exploration Group/ESSCA)

Hello and welcome...

12:22 , Andrew Griffin

... to The Independent’s coverage of the Geminid meteor shower.