The Geminid Meteor Shower Will Put On a Show This Evening

Pablo Tucker
December 17, 2018

While the meteors will be streaking across the skies during the day, they can be best viewed after 11:00 p.m. local time on Thursday December 13, and about an hour later on Friday, December 14, when the skies are dark and moonless. At the moment the Geminid meteor shower is now at its peak, making it a bit easier to spot "falling stars" with your own eyes. The shower is expected to light up the skies from 4:00 am - 9:00 am on Saturday, 15 December.

The American Meteor Society noted the Geminids are the most dependable meteor shower each year but December's chilly and often cloudy conditions detract from its popularity.

Have you ever seen a sky full of shooting stars?

Although the Geminid shower is known for its "shooting stars", the number of meteors visible depends on the time and how dark it is. "You'll also be looking at the constellation of Gemini while you're looking that direction", Jones said, noting that's how the Geminid meteor shower got its name. The most meteors should be seen around 2 a.m., if the sky is clear enough. For best view time, you should go out after the Midnight on 13th and 14th of this month.

The department correctly states that the falling rock was likely part of the Geminid meteor shower, which occurs yearly in early to mid December. You do NOT need any special equipment like telescope or binoculars to enjoy meteor showers. "The cosmic dust may have resulted from a crash with another flying object, but there's little danger of any Geminids landing on Earth as it normally disintegrates in the earth's atmosphere". As pieces of this debris come crashing through the Earth's atmosphere, they are seen streaking across the sky as they ignite and vaporize.

While meteors can appear anywhere in the sky this display appears to originate from the constellation of Gemini.

MORE DETAILS: This is the closest pass by a comet to the Earth this year and the 10th closest approach since 1950 (getting as close as about 7 million miles). Depending on the level of light pollution in your area, you might see closer to 30 or 40 per hour in the suburbs...or none at all, if you live in a city. But nowadays, almost 120 meteors can be seen across the sky at the peak.

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