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What is the Geminid meteor shower and how can you see it?

A shooting star seen during the Geminid meteor shower last year. Credit: PA Images

It's the most wonderful time of the year for spotting the Geminid meteor shower.

According to NASA, the Geminids are typically one of the best and most reliable of the annual meteor showers.

The 'shooting stars' are due to peak overnight on Tuesday 13 and Wednesday 14 December.

However, a full supermoon - the third of this year is due to outshine it.

All is not lost as some Geminid meteors may well overcome the glare of the supermoon.

What is the Geminid meteor shower?

  • The meteor shower appears to come from a point in the constellation Gemini
  • But you don’t need to find the constellation to watch it
  • The Geminids are an annual meteor shower caused by the 3200 Phaethon asteroid
  • Its orbit brings it very close to the sun, causing its surface material to crumble and break off
  • The debris crashes into Earth’s upper atmosphere 80,000 miles per hour
  • It vaporizes and these are the meteors you can see in the sky
Credit: PA Images

You don't need any special equipment to view tonight's spectacle.

The best place to see it will be in dark sky locations, away from bright city lights - 2am is the time to be out to catch a glimpse of it.

Once you get to your chosen location, search for the darkest patch of sky you can find, as meteors can appear anywhere overhead.

And make sure you wear the appropriate clothing for cold overnight temperatures.

Find the latest weather forecast for the Midlands here.