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There’s a massive meteor shower about to happen over Melbourne

Meteor Shower
Photograph: Creative Commons

It’s been a good year for stargazers in Melbourne. In January we had a (very metal sounding) super blue blood moon and in July our skies hosted the longest blood moon eclipse for the rest of the century. If you love all things astronomical than look up – because we’re about to see one mighty meteor shower.

The Geminids are a regular and very reliable meteor shower that occurs every year. The celestial event is caused by a five kilometre-wide asteroid called 3200 Phaethon as it moves past Earth. As it flies by it sheds debris which then rains down on the planet as the Geminid meteor shower.

This year the shower will be visible in Melbourne from December 13 to 16, with the peak time to catch a glimpse occurring in the wee hours of December 15. Unfortunately being so far south Melburnians don’t get the best view of the shower but we can still expect to see around 20 meteors per hour during the peak time.

As any amateur astronomers are already aware, stargazing is not for those who value their sleep. The best time to view the shower is between 2am and 3pm so set your alarms or stay up late. Face north and then scan the skies for the best chance of spotting a meteor as it burns up in the atmosphere.

These are some of the better stargazing spots in Melbourne.

Want to sleep in? Scienceworks is hosting a giant, realistic moon installation this summer.

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