Tonight’s twin meteor showers: Best time and how to view spectacular space events in Australia

The Geminids meteor shower, set to light up Australian skies ahead of Christmas, will be the last natural light show of the year.

It will be visible from midnight on Tuesday and again for several hours on Wednesday. Here’s everything you need to know.

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Radiating from the constellation of Gemini, the Gemini meteor shower consists of fallen debris from 3200 Phaethon — an asteroid first discovered in 1983.

Earth passes through the Geminids annually, and as the debris hits Earth’s atmosphere it begins to burn, causing a bright and colorful light show.

ANU astrophysicist Brad Tucker told 7NEWS.com.au that when you look at the shower you “literally see these little chunks of rock burning up in our sky as we walk through the debris trail.”

“You will always see large crowds (Geminids), depending on the weather – and you can count on them every year.”

He shared the best windows to capture the meteor shower on two nights this week.

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As of midnight Tuesday night and Wednesday night, skygazers have just a few hours to enjoy the show due to the current crescent moon — which refers to a phase of the moon on either side of the full moon when the lunar disk appears larger than a semicircle, but not a full disk .

The meteor shower won’t be visible long before midnight, so if you’re watching with kids, Tucker suggests “sleep early and set the alarm to fully enjoy it.”

“A little before midnight to about 3 a.m.,” Tucker said. “This is both the peak of the meteor shower, but this year we’re also trying to avoid the moon,”

“As it gets a little later, the moon gets bigger and brighter and that starts washing out some of those fainter meteors.”

“A little bit later in the night of the 14th/15th you’ll have a little more time there to catch it.”

Over 100 meteors were recorded in this composite image captured during the peak of the 2014 Geminid meteor shower. Recognition: Jacobs Space Exploration Group/ESSCA via NASA

Several Australian states are expecting some cloud cover during meteor shower data, but Tucker said, “Even if you have a gap of about 30 minutes, you can still see a few (meteors) in that time frame.”

“Wait and see if the clouds thin and take advantage of these times.”

Avoid light-polluted areas and leave your eyes outside for ten minutes to adjust to the darkness.

Slow, bright and colourful

The meteor shower’s mother body asteroid makes it unique and popular with sky watchers.

Tucker previously told Weekend Sunrise that this was because they appeared to move slowly through the sky while displaying bright colors.

Most meteor showers are usually the debris of comets, which Tucker said “are just frozen, dirty snowballs.”

“What’s great about the Geminids is that they come from a slightly different object, they’re called 3200 Phaethon, which is actually more of an asteroid than a comet, and that’s why the colors look a bit different than some other meteor showers.”

“The color (of the meteor) is based on composition, how much iron and nickel and other things they contain.

“They also produce quite bright ones, which always makes it look spectacular.”

Gemini is moving 40 times faster than a speeding bullet, according to NASA, which reports that the meteors begin to burn up as they reach altitudes between 72 km and 88 km from Earth’s surface.

As they burn, they become brighter and their compositions can be seen in their colorful responses.

To see exactly when showers will peak across Australia see below or visit Time and Date here.

NSW

Sydney

  • Begins at 11:47pm AEDT Tuesday night.

Wollongong

  • Begins at 00:01 AEDT on Wednesday morning.

newcastle

  • Begins at 11:37pm AEDT Tuesday night.

Port of Coffs

  • Begins at 11:18pm AEDT Tuesday night.

Port Macquarie

  • Begins at 11:31pm AEDT Tuesday night.

dubbo

  • Begins at 11:48pm AEDT Tuesday night.

bourke

  • Begins at 12:10 AM AEDT on Wednesday morning.

Albury

  • Begins at 12:18 AM AEDT on Wednesday morning.

Wagga Wagga

  • Begins at 12:10 AM AEDT on Wednesday morning.

Victoria

Melbourne

  • Begins at 12:33 AM AEDT on Wednesday morning.

geelong

  • Begins at 12:36 a.m. AEDT on Wednesday morning.

Bendigo

  • Begins at 12:32 a.m. AEDT on Wednesday morning.

Ballarat

  • Begins at 12:37 a.m. AEDT on Wednesday morning.

Shepparton/Mildura

  • Begins at 00:26 AEDT on Wednesday morning.

Wodonga

  • Begins at 12:18 AM AEDT on Wednesday morning.

Queensland

Brisbane

  • Begins Tuesday evening at 10:06pm AEST.

gold coast

  • Begins Tuesday evenings at 10:07pm AEST.

sunshine coast

  • Begins Tuesday evenings at 10:34pm AEST.

Toowoomba

  • Begins Tuesday evenings at 10:11pm AEST.

Rockhampton

  • Begins Tuesday evenings at 10:41pm AEST.

Mackay/Bundaberg

  • Begins Tuesday evenings at 21:57 AEST.

cairn

  • Begins Tuesday evenings at 10:41pm AEST.

Townsville

  • Begins Tuesday evenings at 10:44pm AEST.

PLOT

canberra

  • Begins at 12:09 AM AEDT on Wednesday morning.

TASMANIA

Hobart

  • Begins at 12:37 a.m. AEDT on Wednesday morning.

Launceston

  • Begins at 12:33 AM AEDT on Wednesday morning.

South Australia

Adelaide

  • Begins at 12:21 AM ACDT Wednesday morning.

Mount Gambier

  • Begins at 12:20 AM ACDT Wednesday morning.

Western Australia

perth

  • Begins at 10:45 p.m. AWST Tuesday evening.

Kalgoorlie

  • Begins at 10:18 p.m. AWST Tuesday evening.

Broome

  • Begins at 10:18 p.m. AWST Tuesday evening.

Northern Territory

Darwin

  • Begins at 11:13 p.m. ACST Tuesday night.

Alice Springs

  • Begins at 11:18pm ACST Tuesday night.

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https://7news.com.au/technology/meteor/geminids-meteor-shower-tonight-best-time-and-how-to-see-spectacular-space-event-in-australia-c-9143952 Tonight’s twin meteor showers: Best time and how to view spectacular space events in Australia

James Brien

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