CROSS your fingers for a clear sky on Thursday night (December 13). This is when the annual Geminid meteor shower reaches its peak, and if the clouds stay away we could see hundreds of shooting stars through the night, perhaps one every minute or so between 11pm and dawn.

You won't need any equipment to watch the meteor shower. Just go out after 11pm, find somewhere dark, look up - and wait. The shooting stars will appear to zip out of the east, but can appear above, behind or to either side of you, so just watch the sky and eventually you'll see a streak of light dash across the heavens. This is a piece of space dust burning up in the atmosphere - a shooting star. Some can be dazzlingly bright, and leave a ghostly smoke trail in the sky. Although you will see some from your garden, the more sky you can see the more meteors you will see. So if the sky's clear get away from the lights and find somewhere with a big, dark sky, look up, and wait to be amazed.

Stuart Atkinson

Eddington Astronomical Society of Kendal