On Friday evening the Geminid meteor shower will be visible, known as one of the brightest showers of the year. (Unsplash)

Fireballs to fill the sky Friday for brightest meteor shower of the year

Geminid meteor shower features colourful, brighter, longer shooting stars

Grab a group of friends, a blanket and head to a dark field away from the city this weekend for the chance to see fireballs falling from space during the year’s brightest meteor shower.

The Geminids are visible every December as Earth passes through the massive trail of debris shed by an asteroid named 3200 Phaethon. Kaurn Thanjavur, a senior astronomy lab instructor at University of Victoria, says the meteor shower is named after the direction the shooting stars come from — the constellation of Gemini.

READ ALSO: Photographer captures Perseid meteor shower over Shuswap

Thanjavur says the Geminids are special and explains that normally shooting stars come from comets, often referred to as dirty snowballs, which are made of up of rock and ice. The Geminids are coming from an asteroid meaning the shooting stars are made of rock and will be more colourful and brighter for longer because they don’t burn up as quickly.

“There’s a high chance of seeing fireballs,” he says, adding they should be visible for several seconds. “If you’re fairly quick, you can even get a picture of those meteors.”

READ ALSO: UVic astronomers help discover new planet

According to Thanjavur the best time to view the shower is from 11 p.m. on Friday to 2 a.m. on Saturday. “It’s nice to have few people together so everyone scans in a different direction and calls out when they see one of the fireballs,” he says.

And even if you don’t see any shooting stars, Thanjavur says it’s a great time to observe the Gemini constellation, which makes the twins. In order to find Gemini you’ll need to locate the twin stars — Castor and Pollux — which mark the heads of the twins.

According to NASA, waiting until about 10:30 p.m. when the moon’s light is less bright is best in order to see the more faint meteors, which are more numerous. Find the darkest place you can, give your eyes 30 minutes to adapt to the dark and avoid looking at your phone. Lie flat on your back with a view of the sky from horizon to horizon, taking in as much of the sky as possible and you’ll begin to see the shooting stars.

To see a collection of Geminid photos from NASA’s community visit bit.ly/38nBl0T.



kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Province seeking public input on improvements along Highway 97 in Lake Country

An open house will be held on the matter at the Winfield Memorial Hall in Lake Country on Feb. 5

Kelowna RCMP looking for witnesses following wallet theft

The woman was walking along McCurdy Road when she was pushed down by a passing male

Restaurant owners to present cheque on Wednesday for Kelowna girl diagnosed with tumour

Central Kitchen and Bar staff recently held fundraiser to help with Elara’s treatment costs

Former Hells Angels associate in Kelowna court on gun, drug charges

Former Hells Angels associate Dale Habib appears in Kelowna court

West Kelowna temporary shelter opens for people experiencing homelessness

The shelter opened last Friday and is able to accommodate up to 40 people

Icewine lovers gather at Grizzli for first annual festival

The festival also celebrated the Lunar New Year

Swapping grape varieties can help winemakers adapt to climate change: UBC study

Report says 56% of wine-grape-growing regions would be lost if global climate warms by 2 C

Alberta premier wants feds to approve Teck mine for benefit of First Nations

Kenney: ‘Surely [reconciliation] means saying yes to economic development for First Nations people’

Quintet jazzes it up with Okanagan-wide talents

Justin Glibbery group brings twist of jazz and pop

Trans-Canada closed east of Golden due to avalanche hazard

The highway is estimated to reopen around 7 p.m.

Penticton Indian Band stands in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en

“We’ve lived in this area for 10,000 years, and our knowledge is being disregarded…” - Chad Eneas.

NDP suggests easing secondary housing rules for B.C. farmland

Lana Popham proposes guest homes not just for relatives

After four sexual assaults in the same B.C. park, RCMP ask women not to walk alone

Four sexual assaults took place in Glen Park over two months

BC Place lights up in purple and yellow to honour Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash

Most Read