Geminid meteor shower to start streaking through Tasmanian sky

TAIL END: Astronomical Society of Tasmania Northern coordinator Michael Booth captured the sliver of a meteor tail while he was searching the night sky. Picture: Supplied/Michael Booth
TAIL END: Astronomical Society of Tasmania Northern coordinator Michael Booth captured the sliver of a meteor tail while he was searching the night sky. Picture: Supplied/Michael Booth

Patient star gazers are in for an astronomical treat if they look towards the northern horizon each night for the next week and a half.

The Geminid meteor shower will streak through the Tasmanian sky after midnight until close to sunrise between December 4 and 16.

Astronomical Society of Tasmania Northern coordinator Michael Booth said the meteor shower was created by debris left behind by an asteroid, which orbited the sun about every year and a half.

The debris then entered into the Earth’s atmosphere and formed steady streams of flaming balls, Mr Booth said.

This meant the meteors were different from other showers, which were often created by comets, he said.

Watching for the meteor shower would take patience, concentration and a steady eye on the northern horizon away from light pollution, Mr Booth said.

The Geminid meteor shower received its name from the Gemini constellation, which the showers appeared to emerge from, Mr Booth said.

Launceston Planetarium manager Martin George said Tasmanians would likely only see about 20 to 35 meteors an hour with the naked eye at the peak of activity.

December 13 and 14 would have the best showers on show, Mr George said.