Geminids Meteor Shower 2011 To Light Up Britain's Skies Tonight

Geminid Shower

Huffington Post UK   First Posted: 13/12/11 10:35 Updated: 13/12/11 18:01

Stargazers could be in for a treat as the Geminids meteor shower prepares to peak tonight.

The annual shower, which is active from 7 - 17 December, is due to peak in the UK between 8pm tonight and 2am tomorrow morning.

Geminids are debris released as the Earth passes through the dust particles of the asteroid-like object 3200 Phaethon.

The debris burns as it enters the Earth’s atmosphere, producing a bright display of white, yellow, green, blue and red lights.

The first reports of Geminid showers occurred in the 1830s, making it a relatively young phenomena compared to the Perseids or Leonids, which reportedly date back to 902AD.

It is named after the constellation in which the radiant is located – Gemini – while Leonids are believed to radiate from Leo and so on.

Geminids can produce between 100 – 150 meteors per hour in perfect conditions, but weather factors – including the glare of the moon – could reduce visibility.

You’ll be able to spot brighter trails, however, by looking away from the glare of the Moon, according to Cheshire’s Jodrell Bank Observatory.

Depending on the weather and vantage points, there could be up to 40 meteors per hour visible from the UK tonight.

The National Trust has compiled a list of the best places to stargaze across the country, including Stonehenge.

Additionally, NASA will host an online chat with three meteor experts at its Marshall Space Flight Centre from 11pm ET on Tuesday to 5am ET on Wednesday.

So wrap up warm and watch the night sky light up!

Will you be stargazing tonight? Email your pictures, using the hashtag #geminids to ukpicturedesk@teamaol.com

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