Geminid meteor shower UK 2015: How, where and when to watch tonight's spectacle but will cloudy weather cover up the stunning views?

 
Lynsey Barber
Follow Lynsey
Annual Geminid Meteor Shower
As seen over Nevada, the Geminid meteor shower (Source: Getty)

Star gazers will be treated to a spectacular show tonight, when the spectacle of the Geminid meteor shower appears over the skies of Britain.

The annual event is said to be the biggest meteor shower of the year, with as many as 120 meteors filling the sky every single hour at its peak, which just happens to be this evening.

While it begins on 4 and ends on 17 December, the shower peaks on 14 December each year, and in the UK, the rather early time of 2am will be the prime time for viewing when it will occur straight overhead. For anyone not wanting to start the week bleary eyed, or if you have kids, the meteors can still be viewed as early as 9pm and 10pm this evening.

The best way to view it is from a spot away from street lights and houses. Difficult for many of us. In London, parks and open spaces away from as much light pollution as possible are your best bet.

Will the weather be on star gazers' side? Clear cloudless skies are best, naturally. Unfortunately, the forecast suggests it will indeed be cloudy for most, but the Met office says the far northwest and far southwest are likely to have more breaks in the cloud to catch a glimpse.

If there's no luck with weather (or you just want to be tucked up in bed) then it will all be livestreamed here.

Or, simply watch this stunning time lapse video of the Geminid meteor shower.

And now for the science bit. Nasa explains what exactly the Geminid meteor shower is all about:

" Geminids are pieces of debris from an object called 3200 Phaethon. Long thought to be an asteroid, Phaethon is now classified as an extinct comet. Basically it is the rocky skeleton of a comet that lost its ice after too many close encounters with the sun.

Earth runs into a stream of debris from 3200 Phaethon every year in mid-December, causing meteors to fly from the constellation Gemini. When the Geminids first appeared in the early 19th century, shortly before the U.S. Civil War, the shower was weak and attracted little attention. There was no hint that it would ever become a major display."

Related articles