Geminid Meteor Shower 2022: how to see shooting stars tonight

Geminid Meteor Shower 2022: how to see shooting stars tonight

Geminid Meteor Shower 2022: how to see shooting stars tonight

Skywatchers are gearing up to see the Geminids meteor shower, which astronomers consider one of the best and most reliable of the approximately 30 annual meteor showers. This year, the Geminids peak from late Tuesday night until early Wednesday morning, though light from a waning gibbous moon is expected to wash out the fainter meteors.

“The moon is a bummer,” said Bill Cooke, chief astronomer of the Meteoroid Environment Office at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. The moon will be about 75 percent illuminated on the night of peak rainfall, he added.


How do you plan to look at the Geminids meteor shower? Join the conversation below.

Weather permitting, skygazers in the Northern Hemisphere will likely glimpse 30 to 40 meteors per hour during this year’s peak, according to Dr. Cooke. This is down from about 150 per hour during peak when skies are dark and viewing conditions are optimal.

The Geminids will peak at 5 a.m. Wednesday, though the meteors should be visible starting late Tuesday night, according to NASA. To minimize moonlight interference, consider going out for a look before moonrise, around 10 p.m. local time, said Anna Gammon-Ross, an astronomer at the Royal Museums Greenwich in London.

Major meteor showers, November 2022-December. 2023





Aquarid age

Southern Delta Aquarids






Moonlight isn’t the only light source that can make meteors difficult to see.

“City lights are absolutely failing to cooperate with this type of event,” said Ed Krupp, director of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. He said light pollution means skywatchers today see fewer meteors than their ancestors. But because the Geminids are quite bright, he added, “you actually have a chance of seeing a bright Geminid occasionally throughout the night even in cities” if you watch patiently.

“You just have to be measured in your expectations,” Dr. Krupp said.

For best viewing, find a dark place away from city lights. Lie on your back with your feet facing south. Positioning yourself so that an object, such as a house or tree, blocks direct moonlight can increase your chances of seeing meteors, Dr. Cooke said.

It will take about 30 minutes for your eyes to adjust to the dark. Leave your cell phone in your pocket, as its light will prevent this adjustment. And there’s no need for binoculars or telescopes, as they’ll limit your view to only a small portion of the sky at a time.

Meteor showers occur when fast-moving bits of debris left behind by a comet or asteroid hit Earth’s atmosphere. In the case of the Geminids, Earth moves through the debris of 3200 Phaethon, a space rock discovered in 1983. When the dust and debris from 3200 Phaethon hits the atmosphere at a rate of about 78,000 miles per hour, it burns up, superheating. the air around them and leaving streaks in the sky.

The Geminids are named after the constellation Gemini, which is located in the region of the sky where meteors appear to come from.

“It is always revealing for people to realize that the event they see that is so attractive and so prominent in the night sky for a brief moment is produced by the tiniest speck of material hitting the earth’s atmosphere at such a rate that it is heated until incandescent,” Dr. Krupp said, adding that he hopes that perspective “will continue to enter people’s imaginations when they’re pondering meteors and meteor showers.”

Email Aylin Woodward at

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