Readers ask: how to see shooting stars in the sky tonight

Rigid earth orbits limit how often our closest neighbouring star’s meteors can appear to appear as shooting stars, but the Geminids will be shining high in the western sky Geminid meteor shower: how to…

Readers ask: how to see shooting stars in the sky tonight

Rigid earth orbits limit how often our closest neighbouring star’s meteors can appear to appear as shooting stars, but the Geminids will be shining high in the western sky

Geminid meteor shower: how to see shooting stars in the sky tonight

Readers have been asking us about the meteor shower expected to be visible in the UK on Friday evening. The meteors are usually so fainter than visible from here, but with tonight’s Geminids high in the sky they could appear quite visible.

Rigid earth orbits mean that we only see this particular shower, which is formed in one spot in the constellation Gemini, every six years or so. They are created by the rapid flow of material left by the Swift-Tuttle comet. We see about 15 of these meteors an hour when the shower is at its best. This year, it should peak late on Friday or early Saturday, with the coming afternoon and early evening looking best.

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The Geminids have a reputation for being erratic and few see what they think are the actual shooting stars. They turn out to be many small beads, usually of a solid material, which create beautiful shower viewing.

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