Search icon


13th Dec 2023

Best meteor shower of 2023 to peak in Ireland over next two nights

Stephen Porzio


With a ‘spectacular celestial fireworks display for the whole country’ expected, here is everything you need to know.

The best meteor shower of 2023 will peak in Ireland over the next two nights, according to Astronomy Ireland.

This is the Geminids meteor shower, which is comprised of tiny pieces of space debris – specks of dust that fell off of a small extinct comet or asteroid called Phaethon that goes around the Sun every one and a half years.

The latest shower will last for about two weeks – between 4-20 December – but up to 20 times more shooting stars than normal will be seen over the nights of Wednesday (13 December) and Thursday (14 December) as it reaches its peak activity.

And according to Astronomy Ireland founder David Moore, given the high pressure weather forecast and the moonless nights ahead, conditions are ideal to see what “should be a really spectacular celestial fireworks display for the whole country”.

meteorBest meteor shower of 2023 to peak in Ireland over next two nights

Moore told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that people do not need any equipment to see the shower, “just the naked eye”, adding:

“If you live in the city, well, you’re going to see less because there are more faint Geminids than there are bright ones.

“But I’ve watched from the suburbs of even a big city like Dublin and had a fantastic view because the Geminids are known for producing fireballs, very bright meteors.

“So, it’s well worth watching, even if you can’t get out to the country side.”

Up to three shooting stars a minute are expected, with Moore stating that – as the shower is a “slow moving thing” – people could witness the celestial fireworks display “from dusk till dawn”.

Astronomy Ireland’s advice for best witnessing the phenomenon is as follows: “Best viewing will be from a dark location after midnight as with all showers, but do start watching from 6pm. All night long if you can.

“You should fill your field of vision with sky. This may involve craning your neck back so you can barely see the horizon at the bottom of your field of vision. A deck chair or sun lounger is ideal for this. Even a blanket on the ground.”

Astronomy Ireland are asking members of the public to count how many shooting stars they see every 15 minutes and send in their reports to its website for publication in Astronomy Ireland magazine.

Read more:

LISTEN: You Must Be Jokin’ with Aideen McQueen – Faith healers, Coolock craic and Gigging as Gaeilge