How Manitobans can watch the Geminids meteor shower

The Geminids meteor shower – known as the meteor shower event of the year—is expected to be at its highest visibility this week.

This annual event is set to bring hundreds of meteors across the sky, and Manitobans still have a chance to catch a glimpse.

According to Manitoba Museum astronomer Scott Young, the Geminids produce more meteors per hour than any other meteor shower throughout the year.

“This one beats them all,” he said in an interview with CTV Morning Live on Wednesday.

“The only downside is that it happens in December, which can be less comfortable to be outside under the sky at night, certainly for Manitobans.”

Young noted that the combination of the warm weather, clear skies, and the moon not being very visible makes it a great time to catch the light show.

“Everything is just aligning to give us perfect conditions to see this meteor shower,” he said.

Though the meteor shower is already underway, the peak is expected on Wednesday night and into Thursday morning.

Young said the peak should bring close to 100 meteors per hour for those outside of Winnipeg. Within Winnipeg, the city lights will wash out some of the faint meteors.

“It really makes a difference to get out of the city,” Young said.

“But from a dark location, we’re looking for on average a meteor every minute or so.”

Those looking for the best spots to catch the Geminids, Young suggests Birds Hill Provincial Park, Beaudry Provincial Park, and La Barriere Park.

“Really any place that you can be completely off the road, so that you’re not just on the side of the highway,” he said.

“What you’d really like to do is put out a lawn chair and just recline and lean back and look up.”

Young noted that it’s also a good time to disconnect and get off your phone, because you don’t want to miss what’s happening. He added that the light from your phone will also ruin your dark adaptation and you won’t be able to see the light show for several minutes.

“A meteor, a falling star is only visible for a second or so,” he said.

“If you blink, you could miss it.”

WHAT IS A METEOR?

For those wondering what a meteor is, Young explained that they are little pieces of sand that are crashing into the earth.

He added that each piece of dust is hitting the earth at around 30,000 km/h.

“Even though it’s really small, it’s got all that energy from its speed as it goes around the sun and as the earth goes around the sun,” he said.

“All that energy gets converted into heat and light, and we see this streak of light as it burns up in the atmosphere through friction.”

– With files from CTV’s Ainsley McPhail and Alexandra Mae Jones.

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