12 December 2023, by Jan de Boer

The weather has been cold and cloudy for weeks, we’re hoping for a break this week in the Netherlands, as the peak of the Geminids meteor shower draws near. This spectacular meteor shower is considered one of the most beautiful of the year, with up to 150 meteors per hour possible at the peak of the event. 

Geminids meteor shower to be visible from the Netherlands

Finally, they’re here! One of the true highlights of the astronomical calendar is on its way over the Netherlands this week, with residents expected to be able to see the peak of the shooting stars on Thursday evening! The Geminids arrive in the skies over Europe and the Netherlands every December and are sourced from the 3200 Phaethon asteroid. This means that unlike meteor showers created by comets (which are mostly ice and have a lower density), the Geminid shower is known for having a higher density of shooting stars.

Like the Perseids in August, the Geminids are considered one of the most impressive meteor showers to cross the night sky – at peak times, between 50 and 150 meteors can be seen every hour. They enter the earth’s atmosphere at 35 kilometres per second – quite slow by meteor standards – which should make them much easier to see with the naked eye.

How to see the Geminids meteor shower in the Netherlands

People in the Netherlands can expect to see the peak of the meteor shower at around 8pm on Thursday, but stargazers will also be able to spot hundreds of shooting stars between sundown on December 14 and sunrise on December 15. For those with an in-depth knowledge of the stars – or the SkyView app on their mobile phone – the meteors will radiate from around the Castor star in the Gemini constellation, which will emerge from the east and move across the sky until dawn.

In terms of the weather, forecasters expect some cloud cover during the lead-up and aftermath of the peak. However, there is still hope, with meteorologists forecasting a short period of clear skies on the evening of the peak itself – although things remain uncertain.

If you want to catch a glimpse of one of the world’s most impressive meteor showers, be sure to wrap up warm and head out to areas without any light pollution. This typically means as far away from cities as possible and towards rural areas such as national parks in the Netherlands.

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