Do you think you can make a wish when you see a shooting star? Then you’re in luck, because this week you can see about 65 meteors per hour in Nijmegen. This is what Mark van der Slice, lecturer in astronomy at Utrecht University and creator of the site tells us sky.observe.com.
On the night of Thursday 14 to Friday 15 December 2023, the Geminid meteor shower can be clearly seen. This is the second largest annual meteor shower in the sky. With the naked eye you can see about 65 meteors per hour. They are best seen from a dark place, such as Overasseltse and Hatertse Vennen.
Mark explains that Gemini is named after the constellation Orion, where meteorites seem to come from. The meteor shower consists of debris left behind by the asteroid Phaethon. Because the Earth moves through the debris cloud in its orbit around the sun, we see this meteor shower every year on about the same date. Geminis are distinguished by their large numbers, their brightness, their yellowish color, and the short tracks they leave behind. Its speed reaches about 125,000 kilometers per hour.
Mark: “The best time to observe meteors is around 1 a.m. The moon is 5 percent illuminated and falls below the horizon, making the sky dark. As a result, conditions are reasonably favorable this year. Around 9 p.m. you can see about 30 to 40 in The time if you look east. At around 1 a.m., you can see up to 55 to 75 meteors per hour.
What is a shooting star?
Shooting stars are flashes of light that occasionally appear in the starry sky. However, the flashes have nothing to do with the stars. They are caused by space debris, which is often no larger than a grain of sand. This debris ends up in the Earth’s atmosphere about 100 kilometers above our heads. Due to the high velocities, the air in front of these granular particles is compressed, heated and made to glow. We see it as a blip.
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