Meteors are pieces of debris which enter our planets atmosphere at speeds of up to 70km/sec (Photo: Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty)
By Layton Ryan-ParsonNovember 24, 2021 2:13 pm
As 2021 comes to an end two more meteor showers are predicted to make a spectacular appearance.
Meteors are pieces of debris which enter our planets atmosphere at speeds of up to 70km/sec, vaporising and causing streaks of light.
The first shower arriving will be the Geminids and the last of the year are the Ursids a shower associated with the comet 8P/Tuttle.
When you can see the meteor showers and when they peak
The Geminids can be seen between 3 to 16 December and the date of their maximum the tie when the shower peaks will be 14 December
At its peak, skygazers can expect to see more than 120 an hour.
The Ursids will arrive between 17 December to 26 December and peak on 22-23 December, with a much lower maximum rate of below 10 an hour.
What is their origin?
Geminids meteors are unusual in that they are one of the only major shower not to originate from a comet. Instead, they are a stream of debris left behind by asteroid 3200 Phaethon.
They gained theuir name because, seen from Earth, they meteors appear to radiate from near the bright star Castor in the constellation Gemini.
The Ursids appear to radiate close to star Beta Ursae Minoris in the constellation Ursa Minor, but the actual source is a stream of debris left behind by comet 8P/Tuttle.
How to watch meteors
They can be seen with the naked eye. fFnd a place away from street lights and other light pollution, allowing you to scan the night sky and give yourself plenty of time to let your eyes adjust to the dark.
Do not concentrate on looking directly at the spot in the sky where the meteors will appear to come from known as the radiant. Instead, try to look just to the side in a dark area of sky and you can expect to see more of them with long tails.
For videos and pictures, point your camera two-thirds up away from anything which may block its sight, such as trees and houses. Set the camera to a high sensitivity and the shutter is opened fully. The Royal Museums Greenwich home to the Royal Observatory advises that you take 30 second-exposures.
2022 meteor shower calendar
- Date of maximum: 3 January
- Normal limits 28 December 2021 to 12 January 2021
- Rate/hour: 80
- Date of maximum: 22-23 April
- Normal limits:14-30 April
- Rate/hour: 20
- Date of maximum: 6-7 May
- Normal limits: 19 April-28 May
- Rate/hour: 30-60
- Date of maximum: 28-29 July
- Normal limits: 12 July-23 August
- Peak rate/hour: N/A
- Date of maximum: 13 August
- Normal limits: 17 July-24 August
- Rate/hour: N/A
- Date of maximum: 17-18 November
- Normal limits: 6-30 November
- Rate/hour: 15
- Date of maximum: 12 December
- Normal limits: 4-17 December
- Rate/hour: 150
- Date of maximum: 22 December
- Normal limits: 17-26 December
- Rate/hour: 9