Geminid meteor shower: Where, when and how to see it

Geminid meteor shower: Where, when and how to see it

For the Geminids, you can expect to see around 40 to 50 per hour under a clear, dark sky.

The American Meteor Society recommends turning the back to the bright moon and letting eyes adjust to darkness to see the meteors that may be more faint. The waxing crescent moon will set before midnight, leaving the sky nice and dark.

But if you won't be up in those early hours, you can also start watching a couple hours after sunset; the moon will set at about 10:30 p.m. local time on December 13, and about 11 p.m. local time on December 14, so just look after that on either of those nights.

Find yourself a dark corner of the Bay Area and look south tonight, for the Geminids are upon us.

The best place to see the shower tonight will likely be the Shore points while the worst will be in the Poconos where a few isolated snow showers are still possible, even through the overnight.

This year, the phenomenon started on December 4 but the peak is expected on Thursday and Friday.

The Geminid meteor shower itself was first noted in the 1860s. Dr Ryabova has worked on the dynamics of Geminids meteor stream for decades and has correlated various theoretical predictions and meteor observations over the years.

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And this year, mild temperatures in the 20s should provide for more pleasant viewing-as long as the clouds give way as predicted.

The shower is named after the constellation Gemini because the shooting stars seem to radiate from a spot near Castor, a bright star in the constellation. Spending another 45 minutes watching the light show should be sufficient, Samuhel added.

The Geminid meteor shower is one the most active and spectacular annual meteor showers on Earth. While meteors will be visible beginning 8 p.m., they will be more prominent past midnight and will last until 5 a.m. Friday morning.

As Earth barrels through that dust and debris, its particles hit the atmosphere at 22 miles per second (35 km/s) and are vaporized in a fiery glow. Believe it or not, that is moderate speed for a meteor.

The brightest comet of the year, 46P/Wirtanen, will also be visible this week.

Known as 3200 Phaethon, the three-mile-wide object was discovered in 1983 by two British scientists examining Nasa satellite images and initially classified as an asteroid. But they actually are thought to come from 3200 Phaethon, a space rock that shares characteristics similar to both a comet and an asteroid.

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