Geminids meteor shower to light up the sky

Photo courtesy of The Wall Street Journal

The National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand (NARIT) has extended an invitation to Thai citizens to witness the Geminids meteor shower, commonly known as the Gemini Twins meteor shower, which will peak tonight December 14, continuing into the early hours of tomorrow.

The spectacle can be observed from around 8pm onwards, with an expected peak frequency after midnight of approximately 120 to 150 meteors per hour.

This year’s meteor shower is particularly favourable for observation due to the absence of moonlight interference. It can be viewed with the naked eye from any open and dark location, free from light pollution, across all regions of Thailand. Supruk Khreananant, the Director of the Academic and Media Communication Center at NARIT, revealed that the Geminids meteor shower occurs annually between December 4 and 20, emanating from the constellation Gemini.

Astronomers predict that this year’s peak will occur from midnight tonight until the early hours of tomorrow, December 15. However, enthusiasts can start observing as soon as the Gemini constellation rises above the eastern horizon, from about 8pm onwards. Meteors will appear as fleeting streaks of light across the sky, visible to the naked eye in dark places. The absence of moonlight this year makes observation especially favourable.

The Geminids meteor shower is caused when the Earth passes through the trail of debris left by the small planet 3200 Phaethon as it orbits within our solar system. When the Earth travels through this dust trail, the planet’s gravity attracts these particles into the atmosphere, causing friction and combustion. This creates the effect of bright streaks of light moving across the sky, which observers on Earth perceive as a meteor shower, reported KhaoSod.

The Geminids are distinct from ordinary meteors in that they appear to come from a single point in the sky, known as the Radiant. When the Radiant coincides with a particular constellation, the meteor shower is named after that constellation.

NARIT is organising observation events for the Geminids meteor shower. Interested individuals are invited to participate in these events at five main observation points: Chiang Mai, Nakhon Ratchasima, Khon Kaen, Chachoengsao, and Songkhla.

Each location will host different activities, and those interested can find more information on the National Astronomical Research Institute’s Facebook page.

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Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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