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12th Dec 2021

Meteor shower to light up night sky on Monday

Katy Brennan

This sounds beautiful.

Irish skygazers will get to see a display of shooting stars on Monday, as the Geminid meteor shower will illuminate the night sky.

Experts say the meteor shower will peak during the night of 13 December and will be visible into the early morning of 14 December.

The display can be viewed with the naked eye so there is no need for binoculars or a telescope. Skygazers will also get to witness a very bright moon on Monday.

Meteors are pieces of debris that find their way into Earth’s atmosphere and travel at speeds of up to 70km per second. They vaporise in our atmosphere and cause streaks of light.

Geminids can very bright and multicoloured. They are mostly white but can be yellow, green, red and blue.

According to Astronomy Ireland, “as Earth moves through clouds of dust leftover from comets, the particles fall into our atmosphere and burn up, creating spectacular streaks of light in the sky, known as meteors or shooting stars.

“This shower is named after the constellation Gemini, from which the meteors appear to come from in the sky. If you trace back the path of a Geminid, you will find that it appears to come from a point in the south east.”

People are advised not to look directly at the radiant as this can limit the number of meteors that are visible.

Instead, looking to the side in a dark area of sky will give people a better chance of seeing the display.

For those unable to physically watch the shower, NASA will also be live-streaming the amazing event.