The biggest meteor shower of the year will grace Irish skies tonight

The biggest meteor shower of the year will grace Irish skies tonight

PEOPLE living in Ireland will be in for quite the treat from the skies above tonight.

The biggest meteor shower of the year will be visible over Irish skies tonight.

The meteor shower, called the Geminid’s, is caused by the object 3200 Phaethon, which is thought to be a Palladian asteroid with a "rock comet" orbit that releases a stream of dust particles over the Earth.

In plain terms, the shower is known for producing extremely bright meteors called fireballs which will be clearly visible even in cities.

The Geminids occur around December 13 each year.

You’ll be able to see the Geminids anywhere in the sky from dusk until dawn but the rates will be higher from midnight.

After 4 am, the moon will brighten the sky for rural observers while those in urban areas will have the best view if they watch from an area without streetlights.

This is an especially good year to view the Geminids as the Phaethon will come within 10km of Earth, which is the closest it will get to Earth until 2093.

The shower is called Geminids because the path of the meteor always points back to the constellation of Gemini.

"Up to 50 times more shooting stars than a normal night are expected in what should be a wonderful natural celestial fireworks display," said David Moore, Editor of Astronomy Ireland magazine.

"We are asking members of the public to count how many they see every 15 minutes and send in their counts via our website as it is the general public who keep an annual eye on meteor showers and allow us to forecast when the best ones occur."

According to David, the best way to view tonight’s shower is with the human eye so there is no need to use binoculars or a telescope.