A cosmic gift: Geminids meteor shower to peak over Switzerland this week

A cosmic gift: Geminids meteor shower to peak over Switzerland this week

This week, people across the country will be given a real treat in the lead-up to Christmas, with the Geminids meteor shower set to peak over Switzerland on December 14, 2023. It is often described as the biggest shooting star event of the year, with up to 150 meteors set to cross the night sky every hour!

Swiss cities to be treated to Geminids meteor shower

A real treat of the astronomical calendar, the Geminids meteor shower is named after the Gemini constellation. The shooting stars arrive in the skies over Europe and Switzerland every December, and are sourced from the 3200 Phaethon asteroid. This means that unlike meteor showers created by comets (which are mostly ice and have a lower density), the Geminid shower is known for having a higher density of shooting stars.

Like the Perseids in August, the Geminids are considered one of the most impressive meteor showers to cross the night sky - at peak times, between 50 and 150 meteors can be seen every hour. They enter the earth’s atmosphere at 35 kilometres per second - quite slow by meteor standards - which should make them much easier to see with the naked eye.

When can I see the Geminids meteor shower in Switzerland?

While the peak of the Geminids meteor shower in Switzerland is expected at 8pm on Thursday, stargazers will be able to spot hundreds of shooting stars between sundown on December 14 and sunrise on December 15. For those with an in-depth knowledge of the stars - or the SkyView app on their mobile phone - the meteors will radiate from around the Castor star in the Gemini constellation, which will emerge from the east and move across the sky until dawn.

Luckily, natural light pollution is not expected to be a problem this year, with MeteoNews predicting a very thin and early-setting crescent moon for December 14. In terms of the weather, the organisation said that things aren’t looking great, with cloud cover expected during the lead-up and aftermath of the peak. However, there is still hope, with meteorologists forecasting a short period of clear skies on the evening of the peak itself - although things remain uncertain.

If you want to catch a glimpse of one of the world’s most impressive meteor showers, be sure to wrap up warm and head out to areas without any light pollution. This typically means as far away from cities as possible and towards forests, hills and, if you are lucky enough, mountains.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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