Every year, peo­ple around the world are treat­ed to one of the most mag­nif­i­cent light shows the cos­mos has to offer: the Gem­i­nid mete­or show­er. The show­er is vis­i­ble all over the world, and South Africans are expect­ed to be able to catch a good glimpse of it at around mid­night tonight.

46288430991 2Ff64853B2 B
(Image: NASA (Flickr))

The Gem­i­nids peak at around 120 mete­ors per hour.

So what is the Gem­i­nid mete­or shower? 

The Gem­i­nids are active every Decem­ber, when Earth pass­es through a mas­sive trail of dusty debris shed by a weird, rocky object named 3200 Phaethon. The dust and grit burn up when they run into Earth’s atmos­phere in a flur­ry of shoot­ing stars,” writes US space agency NASA in a blog.

Per­haps one of the best things about this mete­or show­er is that it can be eas­i­ly seen with the naked eye. 

So what’s the best way to view a mete­or shower? 

Here’s NASA’s advice:

Find the dark­est place you can, and give your eyes about 30 min­utes to adapt to the dark. Avoid look­ing at your cell­phone, as it will mess up your night vision. Lie flat on your back and look straight up, tak­ing in as much sky as pos­si­ble. You will soon start to see Gem­i­nid mete­ors. As the night pro­gress­es, the Gem­i­nid rate will increase.”

The South African Astro­nom­i­cal Obser­va­to­ry (SAAO) says the best time for South Africans to catch a glimpse of the cos­mic light show will be around mid­night tonight.