The best week of the year for meteor showers :)

Hey folks,

Figured it was worth giving everyone a heads up that this week is the best time of the year to head out and look for meteor showers 🙂 The Geminids, which are the best meteor shower of the year, are currently active – and are building towards a peak on Thursday evening/ Friday morning. Here’s an article about them with a focus on the Australian experience, from The Conversation — [https://theconversation.com/the-geminids-the-years-best-meteor-shower-is-upon-us-and-this-one-will-be-a-true-spectacle-218923](https://theconversation.com/the-geminids-the-years-best-meteor-shower-is-upon-us-and-this-one-will-be-a-true-spectacle-218923)

For those of you in the northern hemisphere, the Geminids are even better – the farther north you are, the better display you’ll see. The radiant, near the bright star Castor in Gemini, will rise earlier from more northern latitudes, and so you can start watching earlier – and the radiant will also get higher in the sky, meaning that the peak rates you can see in the early hours of the morning will be higher. So for most of the northern hemisphere, you could see up to two meteors a minute in the early hours of Friday morning, if you’re at a properly dark site, with no clouds, and have decent eyesight.

There’s also a small chance of another meteor shower, this time with a very southern hemisphere focus – as described by Jeremie Vaubaillon here: [https://www.imcce.fr/recherche/campagnes-observations/meteors/2023wir](https://www.imcce.fr/recherche/campagnes-observations/meteors/2023wir) . These meteors, dust produced by comet 46P/Wirtanen, would be very slow — and it seems likely that only the smallest dust grains emitted by the comet in 1974 would reach the Earth this year. Put those two things together and by far the most likely outcome is that any activity from this shower will essentially be invisible other than for radio observers. But we’ve never encountered this debris stream before, so we can’t be sure. So for this one it is really a case of watching the sky from Australia and New Zealand with no expectation of seeing anything – but just having eyes peeled, just in case! The time to watch for this is on Tuesday evening, between around 8pm and 9pm AEST (=10am to 11am UT, for those who want to time-zone wrangle). This one is one that is a southern hemisphere only event, though, so apologies to those up north!

Fingers crossed for great rates from the Geminids – clear skies to all 🙂