How to watch the Geminids meteor shower 2023 in the UAE

The cosmic display is expected to be at its peak on Wednesday and Thursday

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What is considered by experts to be one of the most impressive annual meteor showers is set to be visible in the UAE.

The Geminids meteor shower takes places until December 24, but it is expected to peak on Wednesday and Thursday

About 120 meteors could be visible as they shoot across the sky at 125,528 kph in the celestial event.

It is hoped that conditions in the Emirates will be favourable, meaning that stargazers may have a chance of spotting the dazzling display tonight or tomorrow.

“The Geminids are considered to be one of the most spectacular meteor showers of the year,” the Dubai Astronomy Group said.

How to watch the meteor shower

The organisation is hosting a viewing event on December 14 at Al Qudra desert from 10pm until 2am.

The event includes observation of the skies by telescope and camera phone, as well as talks and question and answer sessions.

Ticket prices range from Dh100 to Dh160.

To register, visit the Dubai Astronomy Group website.

What are the Geminids?

The Geminids are unique with Nasa stating that they come from 3200 Phaethon, which experts are divided on as to whether it is an asteroid or comet, with it behaving more like a comet than an asteroid by getting brighter and producing a “tail” of debris when it approaches the sun

“Some astronomers consider it to be an extinct comet, based on observations showing some small amount of material leaving Phaethon’s surface,” the US space agency said.

“Others argue that it has to be an asteroid because of its orbit and its similarity to the main-belt asteroid Pallas.”

The astronomical event first started appearing in the 1800s with only 10 to 20 meteors visible.

Now they are one of the brightest and fastest meteors visible from Earth, according to Nasa.

Geminids travel 125,528, over 40 times faster than a speeding bullet, but it is highly unlikely that meteors will reach the ground – most Geminids burn up at altitudes between 45 to 55 miles (72km to 88km).

The meteor shower is also expected to be streamed on many YouTube channels that focus on celestial events.

Updated: December 13, 2023, 11:18 AM