If you’ve got stars in your eyes in London this December, chances are you’re at a panto. But there’s a potentially stunning astronomical event happening tonight way beyond the Christmas lights: the Geminid meteor shower.
The cosmic display started earlier this month but is expected to peak between midnight tonight (December 13) and dawn tomorrow. Some meteors might even be visible from sunset this evening. You won’t need binoculars or a telescope – these little guys should be visible with the naked eye – but patience is key: you’ll need to keep your eyes peeled for occasional streaks of light in the sky, so the official advice from the Royal Observatory is to bring a comfy chair and warm clothes. The weather forecast is dry with scattered clouds, so if you’re lucky, you’ll get some decent sky-scanning in.
Of course, London light pollution will make things a lot harder. For a chance to see the Geminids properly, you’ll want to get out of town. For the best results, head to the South Downs, an internationally recognised Dark Sky Reserve that’s only about an hour from Zone 1. Happy stargazing!