Geminid Meteor Shower Peaks Wednesday Night

Adjust Comment Print

The Geminid shower is different from other meteor showers because it is active throughout the night.

This show comes every December when our planet passes through the debris trail of 3200 Phaethon, a rocky object that could be an extinct comet.

The appropriate time to watch the Geminid Meteor Shower is between 8:45 pm tonight to 3:56 am tomorrow. With the past few meteor showers, a full or almost full moon has not made for the best viewing conditions.

Stay far from city lights and you could see dozens of meteors per hour. Last year's supermoon cast extra brightness into the night sky, which diluted the visual impact of the Geminids, a particularly showy meteor shower. This year, the asteroid will be closest to Earth the night of Saturday, Dec. 16, when it zips by at a distance of about 6.4 million miles (10.3 million kilometers), which is almost 30 times farther away from Earth as the moon is.

The Geminid meteor shower gets the name from the constellation Gemini, though the constellation is not the source of the meteors. If this orbit intersects with Earth's orbit, this debris catches fire, "leaving a streak of light we call a meteor or shooting star", according to Cooke. Don't forget to take a telescope with you for a better view.

Meteors may appear anywhere in the sky, so look to a spot that is away from lights. Most likely, the meteors will be the most visible between midnight and 4 AM on the 14th.

Allow your eyes about 30 minutes to adjust to the darkness and then just keep your eyes peeled for any meteors streaking through the skies.

The best thing about meteor showers is that they don't require a telescope or even binoculars to view properly. The agency is streaming the meteor shower tonight, broadcasting from the Automated Lunar and Meteor Observatory at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.