Can I Still See the Geminid Meteor Shower, and When Does It End?

The peak of the Geminids meteor show may have passed, but skywatchers still have the chance to catch the annual cosmic event. And if budding astronomers miss 2021's Geminids, not only will the meteor shower return next year, but there is still another shower left to experience in December.

As Newsweek previously reported the Geminids, one of the year's most spectacular meteor showers, peaked on Monday night and Tuesday morning. But the shower, which kicks off on December 4, doesn't end until Friday.

At its peak, the Geminids, visible in both hemispheres but clearer in the Northern Hemisphere, can yield as many as 120 meteors per hour according to NASA.

The space agency's Solar System Exploration website recommends that the Geminids are best viewed during the night and predawn hours, adding that as they begin at between 9 and 10 p.m. this meteor shower offers a great opportunity for younger skywatchers to catch such an event.

The Geminids occur each December as Earth, making its journey around the sun, passes through a cloud of dust and particles shed by the Asteroid 3200 Phaethon as it completes its 1.4-year-long orbit around our star.

This means those skywatchers who can't get to a place of good visibility to spot the last tiny pieces of debris from Asteroid 3200 Phaethon orbits the sun once every 1.4 years strike the atmosphere at around 78,000 miles per hour—50 times the speed of a jet fighter—get another chance in 2022.

The Geminids, which take their name from the fact that the meteor shower is most visible approaching from the constellation of Gemini, will strike Earth's atmosphere again on December 4, 2022.

Next year's Geminids will peak in 364 days on December 14, 2022.

For anyone who can't wait until next year to catch a meteor shower could still view the Ursids meteors, which begin on December 17 and End on Christmas Eve. The Ursids shower, caused as Earth passes through debris left by the comet Tuttle, will peak between the night of December 22 and the morning of the 23.

The Ursids, given their name as they appear brightest from the constellation of Ursa Minor, are less spectacular than the Geminids, producing an average of around just 10 visible meteors per hour.

Time and Date advises the best way to view the Ursids meteor shower is at a secluded viewing spot, away from the city lights. Meteors tend to appear from a radiant, so skywatchers should look towards Ursa Minor, which the less experienced can find using any number of apps that track astronomical objects.

geminid meteor shower
A Geminid meteor streaks between peaks of the Seven Sisters rock formation early on December 14, 2018 in the Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada. The peak of the shower is over but sky watchers still have time to catch the annual meteor shower. Ethan Miller/Getty Images