Geminid Meteor Shower: How and When
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Geminids will light up the night sky from Monday night to Tuesday morning, and NASA calls this a “shower”one of the best and most reliable“for meteors that are bright, fast, and numerous.
At its peak at 2 a.m., wherever you are, the rain can produce more than 50 meteors per hour, according to EarthSky. However, dark skies are the optimal place to see the meteor shower, and the moon will be around 77% illuminated during its peak, so meteors can be difficult to spot.
The moon will begin to set and not affect visibility much starting at 2 am to dawn, so it might be worth the midnight pull. NASA said Geminids can be viewed around the world, but the Northern Hemisphere will have the best visibility.
For the ultimate viewing experience, don’t bother using a telescope as it will limit your view of the sky. The naked eye is the best tool for tracking these shooting stars. The meteor shower will be sporadic, so grab a chair on the lawn and plan to sit outside for a while. While you can’t control the moon’s brightness, staying away from city lights can help increase visibility, as you’ll avoid light pollution in the sky.
Geminids are named for the constellation Gemini, where the meteors come from.
The meteorites are fragments of the rocky comet 3200 Phaethon. Phaethon is difficult to identify because it has the qualities of both a comet and an asteroid, according to NASA. The rocky comet orbits exceptionally close to the sun and gets its name from a figure in Greek mythology who drove the sun god Helios.
NASA will also night sky live stream via its meteor camera at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, beginning at 9 p.m. ET. If waiting in the cold after midnight in December isn’t for you, then streaming stargazing will be your best bet.
Based on EarthSky’s Guide to the 2021 Meteor Shower, the Ursid meteor shower will be the next and last of this year on December 22.
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