One of the most spectacular meteor showers of the year peaked tonight and skywatching enthusiasts around the world were able to capture the spectacle, although some complained that bad weather was spoiling their view.
The Geminids are the second richest meteor shower of the year, surpassed only by August’s Perseids. An unusual asteroid debris product 3200 Phaetonthe Geminid meteor showers at their peak can produce up to 120 shooting stars per hour. When the sky is clear, skywatchers can catch up to two meteors per minute during the peak, which fell this year on the night of December 13.
In California, photographer Tayfun Coskun captured beautiful trails of shooting stars above a shipwreck in Point Reyes, a skeleton fishing boat stranded on a sandbar near the small town of Inverness about 64 miles northwest of San Francisco. Other skywatchers took their shots in other spectacular settings.
Related: Meteor showers 2022-23: where, when and how to see them
Photographer Paula Corrette shared a mesmerizing photo on Twitter showing a starry sky with Mars’ Great Reddish Spot and a trail of meteors crossing the photo right next to it.
“A bit of condensation on the lens added a bit of shimmer to Mars as a meteor passed by,” Corrette said in the Tweeter.
A little condensation on the lens added a little shimmer to Mars as a meteor passed by. #geminids #azwx pic.twitter.com/998n15Qw6qDecember 14, 2022
Another photographer, Frankie Lucena, shared a clip showing a bright streak of light crossing the dark sky near Puerto Rico’s Lajas Aerostat radar station.
“Geminid Meteor near Lajas Aerostat facing SE of Cabo Rojo, PR,” Lucena tweeted.
Geminid meteor near Lajas Aerostat facing SE of Cabo Rojo, PR. @adamonzon @DeborahTiempo @weatherchannel @amsmeteors #GeminidMeteorShower #Geminids @IMOmeteors @SPACEdotcom @NASA @eMeteorNews @meteordoc pic.twitter.com/uXsCdCpItEDecember 14, 2022
A Twitter user called WonderPixel shared footage from two web cameras showing a meteor lighting up the night in Maine. user said it was the second take in two consecutive nights.
“Wow, got another meteor on camera tonight here on http://FreeportMaineWebcam.com. Two days in a row! It’s targeting Harpswell, and two cameras caught it,” the user wrote.
Wow, I have another meteor on camera tonight here at https://t.co/SldgGkDZRH. Two days in a row! He’s aiming for Harpswell, and two cams grabbed him. #Geminids #Meteorshower #meteorspotted @SarahLongWMTW @colleenhurleywx @spann @StormHour @Met_CindyFitz @Todd_Gutner pic.twitter.com/U2M5qxj5vYDecember 14, 2022
Not everyone watching took pictures, but many still enjoyed the show.
Meteorologist Ed Piotrowski counted 15 meteors in just half an hour and despite less than perfect viewing conditions.
“Despite the brightness of the waning gibbous moon and some cirrus clouds, I saw 15 meteors in about 30 minutes. Nothing terribly bright though,” Piotrowski tweeted.
Many amateur radio operators have been able to detect the signal from space rocks crossing earth’s atmosphere on their devices, according to a ham radio enthusiast and podcaster Bryce Foster.
Some observers, however, were less fortunate as clouds obstructed their view. A Detroit-based Twitter user called Delminico Primo said:
“Looks like Mother Nature is going to block my view of any #Geminids tonite. Had been out for a few hours and had a hazy look at the brighter objects (Mars, Betelgeuse and Capella in this foreground), but the clouds are making their way now.”
It was the same for Jon Van Horne in Florida: “Y’all seen #Geminids tonight from Space Coast, FL?! YA! nor me.” Van Horne said in a tweet accompanied by a photo of a cloudy sky at dusk.
The Geminids will continue until December 17, but the frequency of meteors will drop sharply. The next major meteor shower will be Ursidswhich will peak around December 22.
Follow Tereza Pultarova on Twitter @TerezaPultarova. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.