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2014 Geminids meteor shower

In 2014, the Geminids will peak between December 13 and 14 in 2014. A 3rd quarter Moon may make it too bright for observers to view the shower.

Illustration image
A Geminid meteor in 2012.
The Geminids are one of two meteor showers that occur in December.
©iStockphoto.com

Northern Hemisphere observers should try their luck right after dark, while those in the Southern Hemisphere should try to catch the shower after midnight.

The Geminids can be annually observed between December 4 and December 17, with its peak activity being around December 14. The shower owes its name to the constellation Gemini from where the meteors seem to emerge from in the sky.

Unlike most other meteor showers, the Geminids are associated not with a comet but with an asteroid - the 3200 Phaethon. The asteroid takes about 1.4 years to orbit around the Sun.

The Geminids are considered to be one of the more spectacular meteor shower during a year, with the possibility of sighting around 120 meteors per hour at its peak.

Where to view the Geminids

The Geminids can be observed from locations all around the world.

While it is not necessary to look in a particular direction to enjoy a meteor shower – just lay down on the ground and look directly above and you are bound to see some meteors – astronomers suggest lying down on the ground looking towards the South and look at the sky above you to view the Leonids.

When to view the Geminids

The best time to view the Geminids between 9 p.m. (21:00) local time and before dusk.

Location in the sky

The Geminids meteor shower is not visible at this time of year. The best date is around Dec 13, 2014, table below is for that date:
Geminids meteor shower for New York (Night between Dec 13 and Dec 14)
TimeAzimuth/
Direction
Altitude
Sat 6:00 PM48°Northeast2.7°
Sat 7:00 PM57°East-northeast11.6°
Sat 8:00 PM66°East-northeast21.6°
Sat 9:00 PM73°East-northeast32.2°
Sat 10:00 PM81°East43.3°
Sat 11:00 PM90°East54.7°
Midnight Sat-Sun102°East-southeast66.0°
Sun 1:00 AM126°Southeast76.5°
Sun 2:00 AM192°South-southwest81.1°
Sun 3:00 AM243°West-southwest73.7°
Sun 4:00 AM262°West62.8°
Sun 5:00 AM272°West51.4°
Sun 6:00 AM281°West40.1°
Note: times are for Dec 13, 2014.
Set your location

How to view the Geminids

There isn’t a lot of skill involved in watching a meteor shower. Here are some tips on how to maximize your time looking for the Geminids:

  • Get out of the city to a place where city and artificial lights do not impede your viewing
  • If you are out viewing the shower during its peak, you will not need any special equipment. You should be able to see the shower with your naked eyes.
  • Carry a blanket or a comfortable chair with you - viewing meteors, just like any other kind of star gazing is a waiting game, and you need to be comfortable. Plus, you may not want to leave until you can’t see the majestic celestial fireworks anymore.
  • Check the weather and moonrise and moonset timings for your location before you leave, and plan your viewing around it.

Topics: Astronomy, Meteors, Moon, December, Northern Hemisphere, Southern Hemisphere

In this Article

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All about meteor showers

  1. A handy guide to meteor showers
  2. May 2014: Camelopardalids
  3. October 2014: Draconids
  4. October 2014: Orionids
  5. November 2014: Leonids
  6. December 2014: Geminids
  7. December 2014: Ursids
  8. January 2015: Quadrantids
  9. April 2015: Lyrids
  10. May 2015: Eta Aquarids
  11. August 2015: Perseids

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