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‘Most beautiful shooting stars’ to be visible tonight

The “most beautiful show of shooting stars of the year” is to take place at a night-sky near you this evening (from Wednesday 13 December to Thursday 14), according to NASA.

No telescope or special equipment will be needed to see the spectacle, which has been confirmed by US space agency NASA as a shower of meteors known as the “Geminides”, according to reports.
The show will be visible in France, as well as the rest of the world, and has been described as “the most beautiful shooting stars of the year” by NASA.
Amateur star-watchers are advised to find somewhere as cloud-free as possible from which to watch the show, away from the centre of large towns, so as to avoid light pollution.

Similarly, NASA warns that it will take ten minutes for your eyes to adjust properly to the level of darkness needed outside to see stars. And yet, even if it is cloudy tonight, it is thought that some shooting stars will be visible in the nights following the show, although there will be fewer of them.
These particular shooting stars are actually the visible debris left by 3200 Phaeton, a comet-like, rock-like object that passed by the Earth earlier this month, and was first discovered in 1983. Scientists still disagree on whether it is a comet or an asteroid, or something else, but it has thankfully never passed close enough to Earth to become a threat.
However, the pieces left by 3200 Phaeton’s earlier passage are now set to enter the Earth’s atmosphere, and will produce heat and light on entry - hence the light show.
“The moon will not ruin the show [and] these shooting stars will be visible to the naked eye under a clear and dark sky, from most of the planet,” said Bill Cooke, the lead of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office, which studies meteors, writing on the NASA website.
“The show will be even more beautiful in the northern hemisphere,” he added.

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