This year’s greatest meteor shower show tonight

An annually occurring meteor shower called ‘Geminids’ will be best seen in this year from Sri Lanka tonight (13), Colombo University’s Physics Department Professor and Astronomy and Space Science Unit Director Prof. Chandana Jayaratne said. He said that it will be this year’s greatest meteor shower show.

“If the sky is clear and dark with no city light pollution you may be able see about 120 meteors per hour (That is about one or two meteors per minute). To observe these meteors look east after 9 pm on December 13, overhead at midnight, and towards the west before sunrise on December 14.

“The best time to look is during the dark hours before sunrise on December 14 from about 2 am to 4.30 am because that is when the shower’s radiant point is highest in the sky and the peak activity occurs.

“No binoculars or telescopes are needed to see meteors; they’ll just limit your field of view. This meteor shower is famous for its multi-coloured display with track of lights seen in several colours like white, yellow, green, blue, and red.

“These shooting stars appeared to be coming from the direction of the star constellation Gemini and therefore got the name Geminid. The Geminid meteor shower has a broad peak, so observers should see meteors even on December 14 and 15 nights with somewhat lesser numbers,” Prof Jayaratne said.

He added that three events, a meteor shower, total Solar Eclipse and a celestial phenomenon where Jupiter-Saturn becoming one object, are happening in December.

However, he said the solar eclipse due on December 14 is not visible to Sri Lanka. “The last solar eclipse for this year will occur on December 14, when the moon covers up the sun. The eclipse’s partial phase starts at 7.04 p.m Sri Lankan time and the maximum total eclipse will occur at 9.43 p.m. in the night. Some locations in southern South America, South-west Africa, and Antarctica will see the partial phase of this total solar eclipse and the total solar eclipse is visible to parts of Chile and Argentina” he said.

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