How to observe Geminids Meteor Shower or any meteor shower in Pakistan
Geminids Meteor Shower (AKA Shooting stars) 2020
This Geminids will peak on 13/14 Dec during Moonless night which makes it promising. Geminids Meteor shower is the year’s best meteor shower which peaks on the night of 12-14 with the best views on the night of 14th December. This meteor shower can show you up to 100 meteors per hour. If you stay up the whole night from midnight to 5 am in the morning, you will see around 100 meteors easily.
Point: YOU don’t need Binoculars or Telescope or any optical aid to witness Meteor Shower but your naked eye!
Let’s learn some basics of Meteor shower first
“A meteor shower is a celestial event in which a number of meteors are observed to radiate, or originate, from one point in the night sky. These meteors are caused by streams of cosmic debris called meteoroids entering Earth’s atmosphere at extremely high speeds on parallel trajectories. Most meteors are smaller than a grain of sand, so almost all of them disintegrate and never hit the Earth’s surface.”
“The point in sky from where the meteors seem to appear.” Usually we always look on sides of the radiant and not at the radiant. The radiant lies in some area of the sky.
How are the showers named?
As we know each area in sky is divided into constellations (such as Orion, Gemini, Leo), the constellation in which the radiant lies is how meteors are named. The radiant of the meteor shower that peaks in December lies in the constellation of Gemini so it is named “Geminids Meteor Shower” because these meteors seems to be radiating from Gemini.
How to watch/observe?
You don’t need a telescope or a binocular to watch the meteor shower. All you need is a dark sky and your naked eyes. Meteor shower comes under Naked-eye Astronomy and this is how we did it.
How often Meteor Shower occurs?
Meteor Shower peaks every month. The meteor shower chart is shown below:
Why Geminids meteor shower 2020 is so famous?
Reason 1: Moonless night
There is no moonlight throughout the night to become a hindrance in the visibility and this is just one of the biggest and important reason.
That’s the only reason 🙂
Coming to the point…
How to Observe Meteor Shower
During December, the Earth passes through its orbit where there is rocks and space dust left by Comet. The concentration of that space rocks and dust is much more at this particular area where the Earth passes on night of 13/14 Dec and therefore more chances of meteor observation. The constellation of Geminids is the area in Night sky from where all the meteors will appear to radiate and this is the reason that constellation is called the radiant of meteor shower.
1. Date and Time
On the night of 14th Dec 00:00:01, you can start preparing for the shower. The constellation of Gemini will be at a reasonable altitude by midnight, therefore, this is the perfect time to start your observation. You can keep observing till morning twilight. 🙂 Don’t fall asleep. You won’t get this perfect opportunity next year! Remember, you don’t need binoculars or a telescope to witness the meteor. In fact, this celestial event is naked eye event and should be watched with naked eye.
2. Choose a dark site anywhere on the planet 🙂
Find a place where the skies are clear. This or any meteor shower can be seen from anywhere, therefore, you can see it from Karachi or Islamabad or Lahore or Hyderabad.
3. Choose a site with less or no light pollution
Light pollution in the sky will kill the purpose of going anywhere, so find a dark site with little or no light pollution because this will give you a darker sky and the ability to view even the faintest meteors 🙂
4. Choose a comfortable location, keep yourself warm and covered throughout the night
Find a place where you can comfortably sit or lie for a period of 4 to 6 hours. Dress warmly and keep some coffee or tea with you.
5. Where to look for meteors
Just after Midnight, lie down and start looking on all sides of the constellation of Geminids. You will definitely see meteors on the night of 13/14 Dec which is the peak. You can find Geminids location from Sky Maps or any mobile app such as Star Walk, Google Sky maps, etc
What are the factors for observing Meteor shower
- Clear Skies (No clouds)
- Dark site (little or no light pollution)
- Sky Transparency (Not a major factor but it matters)
- Astro Seeing (Not a major factor but it matters)
My experience with meteor shower?
My first-ever experience was back in Dec 2010 on 13/14 (Sunday/Monday) when I went with the Karachi Astronomers Society to Karli Lake. We witnessed 150+ meteors throughout the night. What that count? Because we counted and logged our observations 🙂 Read about it here
Then we had other trips with a larger group of people (50+) in Mirpur Sakro in 2014 and once we tried Perseids in August 2016 which turned out to be an amazing experience. Here you can read about that trip.