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HomeUK NewsGeminid meteor shower to light up UK skies with shooting stars display

Geminid meteor shower to light up UK skies with shooting stars display

A stunning celestial display of shooting stars will light up UK skies tonight.

The Geminid meteor shower returns each December, and this year will peak on Monday night and still be visible into the early hours of Tuesday.

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

Bill Cooke, lead for NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office, said: “Rich in green-coloured fireballs, the Geminids are the only shower I will brave cold December nights to see.”

Meteors are pieces of debris that burn up as they enter the Earth’s atmosphere at speeds of up to 70km per second, causing streaks of light in the sky.

Geminids are a popular show for star gazers as they are known for being very bright, fast and often multi-coloured.

They mainly appear white, but some can be yellow and green, or red and blue, which is caused by the presence of traces of metals such as sodium and calcium – the same elements used to make fireworks colourful.

The shower can produce more than 100 meteors an hour at its peak, although people may not be able to see this many due to light pollution.

It is one of the few showers not to originate from a comet, either, as the source of the shooting stars is a stream of debris left behind by the asteroid 3200 Phaethon.

People will be able to see the display with their eyes, without the need for binoculars or a telescope.

However, they 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.

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