A special treat awaits stargazers in New Zealand as a rare meteor shower is expected to light up the skies in the lead-up to Christmas.
Predicted by Dr. Jeremie Vaubaillon of l’Observatoire de Paris, this meteor shower originates from debris left by Comet 46P/Wirtanen.
This comet is just over one kilometer in diameter and orbits the Sun every 5.4 years. Due to its close encounters with Jupiter in 1974 and 1980, some of its debris was redirected towards Earth.
Now, more than 40 years later, this debris will create a new meteor shower. These meteoroids will appear as “shooting stars” in the night sky, and viewers may witness dozens of shooting stars per hour from different directions.
This unique event coincides with the well-known Geminid meteor shower, making it a spectacular show for skywatchers in the Southern Hemisphere.