The Geminid Meteor Shower should be visible in Drenthe and rural areas of Friesland and Groningen throughout the night on Thursday and into the early hours on Friday.
Translation by Thomas Ansell
If conditions are clear, residents across the north are likely to see hundreds of shooting stars on Thursday night, so reports RTV Drenthe.The peak time for the extraterrestrial light show is around 6 a.m., on Friday when around 80 to 100 meteors per hour will streak across the night sky.
Smaller arrays with around 60 to 70 meteors per hour will be visible starting after 6 p.m. on Thursday once the sky is completely dark. Astronomer Marc van der Sluys told RTV Drenthe that people looking to see the Geminids should look westward: “Not too low above the horizon, and not straight up, but about midway”.
Conditions in the Northern Netherlands are favourable for shooting stars, with the moon disappearing below the horizon early in the night, and the sun not coming up until late. This removes any extra light from the sky, making the stars more visible. No rain is in the forecast for the region, but cloud cover could limit visibility.
The Geminid shower is named after the constellation Gemini, and it was originally thought that this is where they originated. However, the reality is that the Geminids are tiny particles of dust from the asteroid 3200 Phaethon (discovered in 1983), that are left behind. Each year in December, the earth passes through this cloud, and the pieces of dust and grit that vaporise in the earth’s atmosphere give us the memorable meteor shower.
Although this is the last big shower of the year, the comet 46P/Wirtanen is also visible at the moment, and can be seen as a faint star that moves a little further away each day. The first large meteor shower of 2019 will be on January 4th.
Photo source: Asim Patel/Wikipedia
Leave a Reply