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When and Where to See the Geminids in 2018

In 2018, the Geminid meteor shower peaks on the night of December 13 and early morning hours of December 14.

Illustration image

Look in the direction of Gemini.

To see the Geminids meteor shower, look in the direction of Gemini, which is close to Orion.

The Geminids are considered to be one of the most spectacular meteor showers of the year, with the possibility of sighting around 120 meteors per hour at its peak, which is on December 13 or 14, depending on your time zone. See the table below for details.

A First Quarter Moon will make viewing conditions good for the shooting stars.

Named after Gemini

The Geminid meteor shower can be seen every year between December 4 and December 16, with its peak activity being around December 13-14. The shower owes its name to the constellation Gemini because the meteors seem to emerge from this constellation in the sky.

An Asteroid Meteor Shower

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

Illustration image
Geminids meteor in 2012.
Geminids meteor in 2012.
©iStockphoto.com

Where Are the Geminids Visible?

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, astronomers suggest looking towards the south to view the Geminids.

When to View the Geminids

The best time to view the Geminids is at night – after sunset and before sunrise.

Location in the Sky

The Geminids meteor shower is not visible tonight. Maximum for the shower is on Friday, December 14, 2018 at 7:29 am; the table below is for that night:

Geminids meteor shower for Washington DC (Night between December 14 and December 15)
TimeAzimuth/DirectionAltitude
Fri 6:00 pm46°Northeast0.8°
Fri 7:00 pm55°Northeast9.5°
Fri 8:00 pm63°East-northeast19.4°
Fri 9:00 pm70°East-northeast30.1°
Fri 10:00 pm77°East-northeast41.3°
Fri 11:00 pm85°East52.8°
Sat 12:00 midnight94°East64.4°
Sat 1:00 am110°East-southeast75.9°
Sat 2:00 am172°South84.1°
Sat 3:00 am247°West-southwest77.2°
Sat 4:00 am265°West65.9°
Sat 5:00 am274°West54.2°
Sat 6:00 am282°West-northwest42.7°
Note: times are for Dec 14, 2018. Set your location

How to View the Geminids

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.
  • Check the weather and moonrise and moonset timings for your location before you leave, and plan your viewing around it.
  • Take a blanket and a comfortable chair with you - watching meteors, just like any other kind of stargazing, is a waiting game, and you need to be comfortable.

Topics: Astronomy, Meteors, December, Asteroids

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Meteor Showers Library

  1. January: Quadrantids
  2. April: Lyrids
  3. May: Eta Aquarids
  4. August: Perseids
  5. October: Draconids
  6. October: Orionids
  7. November: Leonids
  8. December: Geminids
  9. December: Ursids

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