Friday, 18 January, 2019

Google marks Geminid meteor shower with a series of doodles

Geminid Meteor Shower 2018 Google Doodle Marks The Sky Light Show Through Slideshow Best Time to See Meteor Shower Google marks Geminid meteor shower with a series of doodles
Theresa Hayes | 13 December, 2018, 20:46

NASA gives you a sneak peek at what you might look forward to tonight.

Most meteor showers are caused by comets - huge clumps of ice - but the Geminids are different. In fact, given its proximity to Jupiter, the solar system's biggest planet has actually made the shower appear brighter than before.

Heavy rain and strong winds are expected to cross Ireland on Saturday, but Sunday will be "bright and breezy". But rest assured, we aren't heading for an "Armageddon" scenario just yet.

There is no particular area of the sky to watch, as meteors may appear in any visible portion of the sky - the optimal viewing position is actually lying down on the ground to keep an eye on as much of the sky as possible. Here's how to see them. That's when the meteor shower is supposed to peak. Great news for the night-owls of Mzansi. In flawless conditions-which is to say under clear skies and away from light pollution-you might be able to see as many as 120 Geminid meteors per hour during peak activity. The really cool aspect of this meteor shower is that at least 120 meteors are produced in an hour.

Geminid is unique in another way as most meteor showers originate from comets. The Geminids look like they're coming from the constellation Gemini, but it's actually fragments of an asteroid that intersects Earth's path. Given their medium speeds, you'll be able to view one to two meteors per minute in the night sky.

"The meteor shower is visible the whole day but the actual visibility starts from the night and continues throughout". They can be seen from nearly anywhere, given their proximity to Earth and the route they travel.

Will I need a telescope or binoculars to view Geminids?

The asteroid particles exude yellowish streaks of light and this phenomenon shall be visible even to the naked eye. However, simply steer clear of bright lights, polluted city areas and skyscrapers to witness nature's magic. You could see up to 75 meteors an hour!

As astronomical events are always somewhat of a waiting game, the best way to catch the meteor shower is to wrap up warm and sit in a comfy chair outside. Moonlight also threatens to outshine some of the dimmer Geminids, but the moon is due to set by about 10:30 p.m. local time on the night of the shower, leaving the sky dark and clear.