Shooting stars to light up night sky in Vietnam next week

By VnExpress   December 4, 2016 | 11:51 pm PT
Shooting stars to light up night sky in Vietnam next week
Geminid meteor in a file photo. Photo by Reuters/ Amir Cohen
NASA forecasts that 120 meteors per hour will be racing across the sky on December 13.

Star-gazers in Vietnam are going to witness a spectacular astronomical display on the night of December 13 as a Geminid meteor shower rains down on Earth.

The Geminids "are typically one of the best and most reliable sources of the annual meteor showers," according to NASA.

NASA has predicted up to 120 meteors per hour at this shower’s peak.

However, Dang Vu Tuan Son, chairman of the Vietnam Astronomy and Cosmology Association, told VnExpress that there is also a full moon early December 14, which will probably outshine much of the Geminid meteor shower this year.

He said observers should keep an eye out for stray meteors in the lead up to the peak from the night of December 12 through the dawn of December 13.

He also advised observers to focus on the Gemini constellation, where the meteor showers appear to originate from, then trace the shooting stars moving from east to west with the peak at around 1 a.m.

“Astronomy lovers can observe the phenomenon starting from 10 p.m. local time. The shower will be most visible after midnight,” Son said.

To witness the Geminid meteor shower, observers don’t need special equipment, Son said, suggesting observers should aim for places that have an unobstructed view of the sky.

The spectacular show arrives in December every year in a variety of colors, but usually white.

According to NASA, the Geminids are the debris of an asteroid called 3,200 Phaethon. The earth passes through its debris field in mid-December, and some pieces burn up as they fall into the atmosphere.

The Geminids are unusual as most meteor showers come from comet debris, not asteroids.

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