Geminid meteor shower lights up Israel's night sky

An almost full moon will make it more difficult to view the shower, but it should still be impressive.

 The Geminids meteor shower in 2020 (illustrative). (photo credit: Jeff Sullivan/Flickr)
The Geminids meteor shower in 2020 (illustrative).
(photo credit: Jeff Sullivan/Flickr)

The Geminid meteor shower, one of the two strongest meteor showers in the year, lit up the skies on Wednesday night, although an almost full moon somewhat dimmed the show, making meteoroids harder to see.

According to the International Meteor Organization, only 10-20 nights every year have showers reaching 20 meteors an hour, so the show is still worth braving the December chill, especially since the Geminids are often bright and intensely colored.

The best time to view the shower is after midnight with the peak expected at about 2 a.m.

How to watch the Geminids

As with any meteor shower, the most favorable conditions for viewing require the darkest skies possible. For this reason, it's always best to be distant from cities and sources of light when viewing one, because light pollution makes it difficult to spot meteors.

A Geminids meteor shower is seen above the mountain range in Nagarkot. 2017 (credit: NAVESH CHITRAKAR/REUTERS)A Geminids meteor shower is seen above the mountain range in Nagarkot. 2017 (credit: NAVESH CHITRAKAR/REUTERS)

Sit with the moon behind you in order to lower the effect of the moonlight on your viewing experience.

The Negev is often a good place to see the shower, with the area around Mitzpe Ramon being a favorite for many as there is little light pollution in the area.

Remember, the desert can get cold at night, especially during the winter, so make sure to bring blankets and warm clothes.

What's behind the Geminids?

The Geminids are caused by an asteroid called 3200 Phaethon, which is unusual as most showers are caused by comets. It is unclear how the material from the asteroid's surface dislodges and becomes meteoroids.