Geminid meteor shower 2022: what is it, when is best time to see it in Edinburgh - Met Office weather forecast
The Geminid meteor shower is set to make an appearance in Edinburgh but what is the Met Office forecasting for this magical night?
The unique, active and multi-coloured Geminid meteor shower is scheduled to make an appearance in Edinburgh this week. For stargazers, this might be the last opportunity you get to see shooting stars in 2022.
The Geminid meteor shower is one of the most active showers of the year and one of the only major showers not to originate from a comet. In fact, the illuminated light travelling through the sky can be traced back to debris from asteroid 3,200 Phaethon.
With its high rate of meteors per hour, stargazers have a great opportunity to view this meteor shower. At its peak, the shower has a rate of around 150 meteors per hour but pollution can play a key role in making the spectacular show less visible.
It’s also important to note, the waning gibbous moon will be rising moments before the shower is active, which is bound to affect visibility and drown out some of the fainter meteors. Taking this into account, it is imperative that you find a spot away from city lights, obstruction and pollution if you want to make the most of this year’s most active shower.
The Geminid shower is pretty reliable and is likely to be your last chance to see a meteor shower this year. Here’s all you need to know about the Geminid meteor shower and how to view it in Edinburgh.
What is a Meteor Shower?
According to the National Geographic, a meteor shower is a cluster of space rocks burning up as they plummet through Earth’s atmosphere. These small rocks are known as meteoroids and as they heat up, the gas surrounding them will glow brightly and give it its ‘shooting star’ like quality.
At the heart of a meteor shower is an icy comet. When the comet enters our solar system this heats up and forms into a gas. During this process, the comet will release dust, rocks, and stones.
National Geographic writes: “With each orbit, that process creates a stream of debris along the comet’s path that persists long after the dirty iceball has headed back out to the edges of the solar system.”
The Geminid shower is unique. Alongside Quadrantids, it is the only major meteor shower to not originate from a comet. Also, unlike other showers, Geminid’s meteors can be multi-coloured with some white, some yellow and a few green, red and blue.
These colours are partly caused by the presence of traces of metals like sodium and calcium.
When does the Geminid meteor shower peak?
According to the Royal Museums Greenwich, the “[Geminid meteor shower] is the one major shower that shows good activity before midnight”. This year, the Geminid is set to peak around December 13-14.
Although, you may still have the chance to see it a couple of days before the peak and possibly the day after too, before it disappears altogether until next year.
How to see the Geminid meteor shower in Edinburgh
You can view meteor showers with the naked eye so find a quiet spot away from light pollution and the hustle and bustle of the city, bring a chair and preferably a thick coat as temperatures are still below freezing in Edinburgh.
What is the Met Office forecast for the Geminid meteor shower in Edinburgh?
Tonight in Edinburgh, the Met Office has forecast skies will be clear and there will be a low chance of rain. As the Geminid shower is at its peak visibility will have changed from medium to good - this means that if you can find a spot away from the city you have a great chance of seeing the shower.
Best spots near Edinburgh to view the Geminid meteor shower
With Edinburgh being Scotland’s capital and cultural hub, it’s likely light pollution and street lights may play a role in visibility and with roads still snow-ridden and icy, there’s no point in travelling if you don’t have to. Here’s a few suggestions of places to stargaze in Edinburgh.
Arthur’s Seat: The tourist spot takes less than an hour to reach its summit and offers incredible views - just make sure you watch your step as things can get rocky near the top.
Calton Hill: Known as a popular spot to take in fireworks, its panoramic views are perfect to look out for shooting stars. It also only takes a short hike of fewer than 10 minutes to ascend the hill.