Geminids meteor shower set to peak Wednesday night

Posted December 12, 2017

Though a few of the meteors are already becoming visible now, the shower will peak Wednesday night, says Bill Cooke with NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office. It is reported by NASA on their Twitter page.

Attention, stargazers: the orbiting object spewing space dust that creates the Geminid meteor shower will be closer to Earth than it has been in recent memory. Perhaps you've already seen a bright meteor flare over the December sky?

Starfall can be seen in every corner of the globe, and a colorful show is waiting for residents of the Northern hemisphere, because the meteor stream will pass through the constellation Gemini.

The Geminids are one of the best showers each year because the meteors travel at slower speeds-around 20 miles a second-producing radiant long arcs that last at least a second or two before flaring out.

The show will compensate for the flop of the Perseid meteor shower in August, when the glare of a full moon snuffed most viewers' attempts to appreciate the event.

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NASA will livestream the Geminid shower beginning at 9 p.m. on December 13, from the Automated Lunar and Meteor Observatory at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. In the southern hemisphere, you will have a subdued but still attractive show because Gemini doesn't rise very high above the local horizon. It will peak around 2am, when the sky is darkest. This object, which was discovered on October 11, 1983, will come very close to Earth this time, 26 times farther away than the moon, thereby putting on a spectacular show. "When you see a meteor, attempt to trace it backwards", said Cooke.

In the D.C. metro area, begin to look for the show before about 10 p.m. when the brightest stars in the Gemini constellation will rise above the horizon.

Wherever you go, Ingram suggests giving your eyes 30 minutes or so to adjust to darkness, and bundling up to stay warm.

"The Geminids first appeared in 1862, while 3200 Phaethon, the source of the shower, was discovered as recently as 1983", Brekke said. Skywatching is simple. Just get aside from lights and stare up in any direction!