Stargazers are beginning to prepare for the last natural lightshow of the year as it appears in Australia’s night skies in the middle of December.
The Geminids meteor shower is known as the best of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere and will be visible through to December 20 as hundreds of space rocks fly by Earth.
First discovered in 1862, the display is now an annual must-see event which is famous for the sheer volume of meteors that rocket across the night sky.
The largest number of meteors will be visible on December 14 and 15 when the shower peaks.
Experts advise onlookers get as far away from artificial lights as possible if they want a good shot at seeing it and to give themselves time to adjust their eyes to the dark.
The Geminids meteor shower is referred to as the best of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere and will be visible through to December 20, peaking on the 14th and 15th
A spokesperson from the Perth Observatory told 7News that anyone who wants to see it will have to pull an all-nighter to get the full experience.
‘It is one of the few meteor showers that has a reasonable time to go out and watch, as it’s usually between 10pm and 4am you can see them,’ they said.
‘Dress for the weather, and make sure you are comfortable, especially if you plan to stay out long. Bring a blanket or a comfortable chair with you — meteor watching can be a waiting game.
‘Once you have found your viewing spot, lie down on the ground and look at the sky.’
The reason people are encouraged to stay up late is so that the moon will have set and its light will not interfere.
Anyone interested in watching the peak of the display on December 14 will have to plan their nights accordingly as different states will experience it at different times.
Brisbane will be able to see it begin at around 9pm, and anyone near Perth will have to wait until 10pm to see it.
Sydneysiders will notice the meteors flying by at around 11pm in Sydney and further down the east coast, Melbournians will see it at midnight. People in Adelaide will have best viewing at the same time, so half an hour behind at 11:30pm.
Visibility can vary based on moonlight and weather, with any cloud cover able to drastically reduce the pleasure of the experience.
Astronomers are forecasting stargazers may be in luck this year as the new moon means that the skies will be darker, making the meteors even brighter.
The Geminids meteor shower is one of the most reliable and active meteor showers and is caused by debris from 3200 Phaethon, a five-kilometre-wide asteroid.
It gets its name from the constellation Gemini which is seemingly where the meteors originate from, near the bright star Castor.
When the debris enters Earth’s atmosphere it quickly begins to burn up which creates the beautiful tails that are the most visible part of the show.
Some of the debris can be as small as a grain of sand which is why it is often referred to as ‘dust’.
The meteor shower was first observed in 1862 and is revered for its reliability in returning, as well as the sheer number of meteors that appear per hour