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2015 Geminids meteor shower

In 2015, the Geminids will peak between December 13 and 14. A waxing crescent Moon (Moon's phase after a New Moon) will create good conditions for viewing the shower.

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

Northern Hemisphere observers should try their luck right after sunset, 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 lie down on the ground and look directly above and you are bound to see some meteors – astronomers suggest looking towards the south to view the Geminids.

When to view the Geminids

The best time to view the Geminids between sunset, local time and before sunrise.

Location in the sky

The Geminids meteor shower is not visible at this time of year. The best date is around Dec 13, 2015, table below is for that date:
Geminids meteor shower for Washington DC (Night between Dec 13 and Dec 14)
Sun 6:00 PM46°Northeast0.1° below
Sun 7:00 PM55°Northeast8.5°
Sun 8:00 PM63°East-northeast18.5°
Sun 9:00 PM71°East-northeast29.3°
Sun 10:00 PM78°East-northeast40.6°
Sun 11:00 PM86°East52.1°
Midnight Sun-Mon96°East63.8°
Mon 1:00 AM113°East-southeast75.2°
Mon 2:00 AM172°South83.0°
Mon 3:00 AM243°West-southwest76.7°
Mon 4:00 AM263°West65.5°
Mon 5:00 AM273°West53.9°
Mon 6:00 AM281°West42.3°
Note: times are for Dec 13, 2015.
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


All about meteor showers

  1. A handy guide to meteor showers
  2. April 2015: Lyrids
  3. May 2015: Eta Aquarids
  4. August 2015: Perseids
  5. October 2015: Draconids
  6. October 2015: Orionids
  7. November 2015: Leonids
  8. December 2015: Geminids
  9. December 2015: Ursids
  10. January 2016: Quadrantids

More meteor showers

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