Geminid Meteor Shower

The Geminid meteor shower peaks Thursday night into Friday morning. The Geminids are usually one of the two best meteor showers of the year, often beating out the Perseids of August. And this year there's no moonlight to interfere.

International observers are counting as many as 50 meteors per hour as Earth plunges into a stream of debris from rock comet 3200 Phaethon. Rates could double or more when the shower peaks on December 13th and 14th. The best time to look is during the dark hours before dawn on Thursday and Friday.

Under a clear, dark sky you may see at least one Geminid per minute on average from roughly 10 p.m. Thursday until dawn Friday. If you live under the artificial sky glow of light pollution your numbers will be less, but the brightest meteors will still shine through.

To watch for meteors you only need your eyes. Find a dark spot with an open view of the sky and no glare from nearby lights. Dress warm, lie back and gaze up into the stars. Be patient and let your eyes adapt to the dark. The best direction to watch is wherever your sky is darkest, probably straight up.

Geminids can appear anywhere in the sky. Small ones appear as tiny, quick streaks. Occasional brighter ones may sail across the sky for several seconds and leave a brief train of glowing smoke. High clouds early on might limit visibility, but should gradually lift out during best viewing hours. Good luck!


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