Vietnamese stargazers expect to see biggest meteor shower of the year in December

Astronomy lovers in Vietnam will have the opportunity to admire two meteor showers this December. In particular, Geminids, considered to be the biggest and most beautiful meteor shower of the year, is expected to appear between December 13 and 14, with a frequency of 120 streaks/hour.


The Geminids are an annual meteor shower that usually occurs from December 7 to 17 and peaks around December 13 or 14, said Hanoi Amateur Astronomy Society. A quirky object known as 3200 Phaethon, which was discovered in 1982, is the source of the Geminids. During its peak, 120 Geminid meteors can be seen per hour under perfect conditions, Thanh Nien reported.

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Geminids is considered to be the biggest and most beautiful meteor shower of the year


Vu The Hoang, Chairman of Hanoi Amateur Astronomy Society said that this year, the Geminids meteor shower could still be active until the morning of December 15. A dark location after midnight might be the most ideal one to enjoy this amazing phenomenon. Meteors tend to radiate from the Gemini constellation but can also come out anywhere in the sky.

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December 14 is also slated to witness the total solar eclipse. However, it can’t be visible in Vietnam but only in southern Chile and southern Argentina. Meanwhile, the partial eclipse will be observed in most parts of southern South America, southeast Pacific, and southern Atlantic.

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The Geminid meteor shower peaked in the early morning hours of Dec. 14, 2018. A few stars streaked across the sky around midnight at the Chautauqua Trailhead in Boulder.

Photo: Kenzie Bruce/ Special to the Denver Post

Besides, on December 21-22, stargazers will have the chance to contemplate the Ursids meteor shower, with a frequency of 5-10 streaks/hour. It is formed by the remaining dust particles of the Tuttle comet, which was first discovered in 1790. It will peak on the night of December 21 and the dawn of December 22. The first quarter moon will disappear right after midnight, leaving a dark sky favorable for meteor shower observation.

The best time to watch the Ursids meteor shower is after midnight in a dark spot, far away from urban lights. Ursids meteor tends to emanate from the Ursa Minor constellation but may also appear anywhere in the sky.

On December 21, the rare “great conjunction” of Jupiter and Saturn planets is anticipated to take place. These two planets will only be 7 minutes apart in the night sky and so close together that they will establish a “double planet”.

Viewers can look west as soon as the sun sets to watch this phenomenon. The latest great conjunction happened in 2000.