Watch the Geminid meteor shower light up the sky over Germany
The lockdown restrictions have made it so many of our favourite Christmas spectacles cannot go ahead. But, luckily for us, Mother Nature has her own celestial lightshow for us to enjoy in the run-up to Christmas.
The King of the Meteor Showers
Known as the “King of the Meteor Showers," the Geminids are considered to be one of the most spectacular meteor showers of the year, treating stargazers to around 120 meteors an hour at its peak. The Geminids were first observed in 1862, and appear to radiate from the Gemini constellation - hence their name. In reality, the meteors originate from an asteroid designated 3200 Phaethon.
The Geminids have already been active for most of December but will reach their peak late on December 13; a peak that will last into the early hours of December 14 (around 3am or 4am). Unfortunately, these days fall during the week, which may mean it is difficult for some people to stay up and catch the show. Don’t be too disheartened though, there’s still a very good chance you’ll be able to catch a few shooting stars over the weekend, as the meteor shower leads up to its peak.
Those who are trying to catch a glimpse of the stunning Geminids might also want to keep their eyes peeled for Comet Leonard. Comet Leonard was only discovered in January of this year; it has a hyperbolic trajectory so once it passes Earth it will never come back - a real once in a lifetime moment! The comet will be most visible on December 12, when it should be visible to the naked eye (although bringing binoculars along would probably be best!).
Make sure to wrap up warm!
The best way to ensure you catch sight of these galactic spectacles is heading out to the countryside, or as far away from the bright lights of your city or town. Heading out at night will leave you at the mercy of the German weather, so make sure you wrap up warm! Weather forecasts suggest it’s going to be pretty chilly at night in Germany over the weekend.
Although both events should be visible without the need for equipment, it might be a good idea to bring binoculars. Other useful items to bring on your stargazing adventure are camping chairs, blankets and mugs of hot cocoa.