Mark your calendars, folks. This week, the sky will shine bright like a diamond thanks to a magical meteor shower display. The yearly Geminids Meteor showers are set to appear this week and will be visible in the UAE skies. The Geminids are known for prolific, multicoloured meteor showers that start at 11pm on December 13 and can be seen until December 17.
Expect to see anywhere between 120-160 meteors per hour whipping across the sky when the meteor shower reaches peak activity on December 14. These slow-moving “shooting stars” travel at an unhurried speed of about 35km per second, so you don’t have to worry that you’ll blink and miss them.
Meteor showers that originate from an asteroid
Moreover, this is an astronomical event that stargazers eagerly await as the Geminids are the only meteor showers to not originate from a comet. Unlike the Perseids and the Leonids, the Geminid meteor showers are the result of the asteroid 3200 Phaethon entering Earth’s atmosphere nd burning up. In case you’re wondering what asteroids are, the simple answer is this – they’re rocky space objects smaller than planets and often categorised as minor planets.
Another unique feature of the Geminid meteor showers is that they’re relatively a more recent discovery, having only been identified in 1862. True, that was a whole century ago but hey, we did say ‘relative’.
Why are they called Geminids meteor showers?
Geminid meteor showers get their name from the constellation Gemini since for spectators on Earth, they appear to erupt from the same point in the sky as the twin-shaped constellation of Gemini. Luckily, that’s the only connection they have to the Zodiac sign of Gemini and these streaks of fireballs and stardust will not impact your horoscope or general fate ever.
Where to watch the Geminds in Dubai?
Geminids Meteor Shower will reach its maximum activity between 10pm and 2am on December 14. As always, the trusty Dubai Astronomy Group is hosting a public viewing event in the Al Qudra Desert to witness this enchanting cosmic event. Tickets cost between AED 100 and AED160 and will include an informative talk, a sky mapping session and a Q&A session.
This experience also offers you the chance to observe deep-sky objects such as Jupiter through state-of-the-art telescopes. Meanwhile, astrophotography enthusiasts can use their phones to photograph these celestial objects via the telescope. Find tickets and info here
Where to watch Geminds meteor showers in Abu Dhabi?
Budding astronomers should geald to the Emirates Astronomical Observatory in Abu Dhabi. Between December 13-16, the private observatory is conducting viewing sessions starting from AED 50 per person. Find details here