11 December 2021, by Victoria Séveno
Calling all stargazers! No matter where in the Netherlands you are, turn your eyes to the sky this weekend or next week to get a glimpse of the Geminids meteor shower, which will peak on the night of December 13!
What are the Geminids and when can you see them?
Owing its name to the Gemini constellation, the Geminids are a definite highlight of the annual astronomical calendar, coming around every December and providing a meteoric feast for the eyes.
At its peak – between 3am and 4am on the morning of December 14 – you stand a chance of seeing around 120 meteors per hour! While your best chance of spotting the meteor shower is on Monday or Tuesday, you might not be willing to stay up that late on a weekday. No worries, you should be able to spot a meteor or two this weekend as the shower builds to its peak.
Make sure you’re prepared and know what to look out for: the meteors tend to be bold, white, and quick. You won’t need any extra equipment for this shower, but experts advise setting aside at least an hour for stargazing in order to ensure your eyes have time to adapt to the darkness.
Keep your eyes peeled for Comet Leonard
Chances of being able to sit back and enjoy the Geminids meteor shower this year are looking fairly decent – so long as the Dutch weather plays ball! The weather forecast predicts temperatures should remain above freezing, even during the nights, ensuring you won’t be too cold if spending the night out of doors. There also isn’t too much rain on the cards (fingers crossed that doesn’t change!), but there could be quite a lot of cloud cover, so bear in mind that the conditions may not be ideal – but that doesn’t mean you won’t see anything!
To be in with an even better chance of seeing the shower in all its glory, try to head out of the city and find somewhere that doesn’t have too much light pollution. If you act fast, you could be in for an extra treat this year as, for the next few days, Comet Leonard will also be visible from the Netherlands. Grab your binoculars and head out in the morning or in the evening to catch a glimpse of this comet before it disappears forever on January 3!