One of the year’s most prolific and spectacular meteor showers will rise in the skies this month, peaking in the next few days.
Astronomers say the Geminid meteor shower will peak on December 13 and 14, with an estimated 120 meteors per hour under the right conditions.
NASA Scientist Explains Meteor Shower As one of the “best and most reliable” shows, you can see streaks of light in every part of the sky during peak showers.
Residents interested in seeing the meteor shower are advised to take a series of steps to maximize their success. Finding a spot away from cities and street lights is a key factor, and if possible, residents are encouraged to lie on their backs, feet pointing toward the southern horizon and looking upwards.
The meteor shower’s “radiant point” is technically in the constellation Gemini, where it’s named, but the meteors should be visible across the sky, according to sources.
Aside from the conditions, patience is also an important factor. It takes about 30 minutes for the eyes to fully adapt to darkness. As you acclimate, you will be able to see more meteors.
Finally, the timing of when you go out is important. According to NASA scientists, moonrise occurs late at night, so it’s usually best to look up after 8pm.
Most meteor showers occur when Earth passes the trail of a comet that passed by us, but the Geminids are actually the result of an asteroid called 3200 Phaethon.
Taking about 1.4 years to orbit the Sun, the asteroid is only 3.17 miles in diameter, but northern hemisphere inhabitants will be wowed by an astonishing celestial show as Earth passes through its remnants.
The Geminid meteor shower was first observed in the 1800s, but it was also much smaller, producing only 10 to 20 meteors per hour at its peak.
Officials say it has grown significantly since then and is now one of the most prolific meteor showers on the calendar.
For those interested in such things, the asteroid is only 3.17 miles in diameter and passed within 6.4 million miles of Earth in 2017, but it won’t make its next closest approach to Earth soon. Collisions are unlikely. Until at least 2093, According to NASA.