Geminid meteor show is all set to occur in December 2020, according to NASA. The event will take place from December 4 till December 17 as “earth plows through the trail of dusty debris left behind in the orbit of asteroid 3200 Phaethon – which might actually be a burnt-out comet”.
The Geminids occur each year, but this year it gets even better as the peak coincides with the new moon.
How and when to watch
The Geminids peak during the night of December 13 through the morning of December 14, according to the blog on NASA’s official website. As for the best view, the blog says: “find a safe location away from bright city lights, lie flat on the ground with your feet pointing south and look up”.
For the Northern Hemisphere, the activity peaks around 2 am local time. After midnight, viewers can enjoy the dazzling event in the Southern Hemisphere.
The blog also explains how Jupiter and Saturn have traveled the skies together throughout the year and will be hosting a show this month. Jupiter and Saturn are all set to get closer than ever during the first three weeks of December.
Relevance of December 21
On December 21, the two giant planets will ‘appear just a tenth of a degree apart – that’s about the thickness of a dime held at arm’s length!’.
This means that the planets and their moons can be seen using binoculars in the same field of view, while a small telescope can also be used. The event is known as the “great conjunction” and is one of the most anticipated events of 2020.
Such an event takes place once every 20 years in this century. This happens when the orbits of Earth, Jupiter, and Saturn periodically align and these two outer planets appear close together in our night sky.
December 21 is the date of the December solstice which is considered as the “winter solstice” in the Northern Hemisphere and the “summer solstice” in the Southern Hemisphere. According to the blog, the sun reaches its southernmost position in the sky during the December Solstice, no matter where you are on earth.