How and when to watch the Geminid meteor shower

Photo courtesy of Astronomer Gary Boyle.


One of the year’s best meteor showers will be making its way through Canadian skies this week.

The Geminid meteor shower began on December 4 but it is expected to peak in Canada on December 13 and 14 between 2 and 6 a.m.

“This is the annual Geminid meteor shower and is named because its radiant or origin appears to come from a specific point in the constellation Gemini,” said Backyard Astronomer Gary Boyle.

Boyle said Geminids tend to be an annual favourite and tend to have more meteors per hour than many other showers. He said this shower is known to produce up to 120 meteors per hour.

“There will even be a few bright fireballs,” said Boyle. “Their slow speed of 36 kilometres per second will add to the beauty of the sky show.”

Even though the moon will be about 80 per cent lit, Boyle said we should still be about to see a good amount of meteors shoot across the sky.

One of the best times to catch the meteor shower will be after 3 a.m. when the moon has set and the shower will be at its peak. However, if that’s too late, anytime is a good time to witness the meteor shower.