A sky full of wishes

The last meteor shower I saw was the eta aquaria one when we went camping in the Karoo specifically to see it as a birthday gift. Tonight we can all watch another one. If you’re willing to stay up past midnight like us. I’m rather excited and while we won’t have the bright brilliance of stars like in the Karoo I’m hoping that we’re far enough away from the cities light pollution to see it.

I googled info for you :
(Article copied from theverge.com)

Right now, the Earth is traveling through a trail of dust and rubble sloughed off by a strange space rock called 3200 Phaethon, which means it’s time for this year’s Geminid meteor shower. The Geminids tend to be the strongest, brightest meteor shower of the year.

Phaethon is what NASA calls “a weird, rocky object.” It might be a near-Earth asteroid or maybe an extinct comet. Either way, there’s a trail of grit and rocky materials in its wake that burns up in Earth’s atmosphere, which is what we see as the yearly Geminid meteor shower.

Excitingly, the Geminids aren’t alone. Also in the night sky right now is comet 46p/Wirtanen (the “Christmas Comet”), a green blur that will be at its brightest on December 16th.

“Look towards the east with a small pair of binoculars or a telescope to see the green, fuzzy comet. It will be near the constellation Orion, or the saucepan,” Brad Tucker, an astronomer at the Australian National University said, adding that this is the last chance to see what’s known as the “Christmas comet” for a few years. “This comet orbits the Sun roughly once every five years.”

What you’ll see will depend on the light pollution in your area. Under ideal conditions, you could see 120 shooting stars an hour at the shower’s peak according to London’s Natural History Museum. NASA recommends giving your eyes about 30 minutes to adjust, and don’t ruin your night vision by peeking at flashlights or cellphone screens. “You go out after the moon sets, you find yourself a nice dark place, you lay on your back, and you look straight up taking in as much sky as you can,” Bill Cooke, lead for NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office, says in a Facebook live video. Dress warmly, Cooke says, and “that’s all you’ve got to do to see meteors.”

Still, people in city centers won’t see anything at all, no matter how much time they give their eyes to adjust. Even further out in the suburbs, people probably won’t see more than 40 per hour, provided the clouds are sparse and lights are dim, NASA says.


There are a few ways to still catch the meteor shower if you live amid the city lights. CNET reports that Slooh Observatory will be streaming the shower. And The Washington Post discovered a live stream that lets you listen to the ping of radio waves reflected back to Earth by the clouds of ionized gases in the meteors’ wakes.