Clear Bay Area skies to offer great view of Geminid meteor shower

Source First Alert Weather Team
Source First Alert Weather Team

15 December, 2017

The National Weather Service indicates the sky will be mostly clear for the meteor shower Wednesday night with a temperature near 57. "The thin, waning crescent Moon won't spoil the show". The best time to look is during the dark hours before sunrise on Thursday, Dec. 14th, when the constellation Gemini is high overhead.

A stunning light show put on by the Geminid meteors illuminated the crystal-clear night sky over the Changbai Mountains in northeast China on Wednesday.

Several meteor showers happen every year, but the Geminid meteor shower consistently has some of the largest numbers of shooting stars during its peak.

The grandest meteor shower of 2017 peaks this week with excellent viewing conditions expected in the Carolinas. The Geminids are active every Decemberand appear close to the constellation Gemini. But more importantly for the meteor shower, 3200 Phaethon is a rare asteroid that forms a tail.

The dust and grit left behind by Phaethon burns up when they hit the Earth's atmosphere, resulting in a flurry of "shooting stars". However, with the meteors streaming across the sky, it's not necessary to locate that apparent point of origin.

Sky & Telescope calls it "the shower we've been waiting for".

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The Virtual Telescope said: "To make this meteor shower of particular fashion and very special this year is a nice coincidence".

What you do need is your naked eye, your wrapped up body, something to site on, and a quite dark outdoor space to watch.

According to scientists, Geminids have a much slower speed than other meteors and typically come in at an angle in the sky.

If you do want to try to see the Geminids from a city, get into a park or even try to use buildings to block our artificial light that could ruin your night vision, Cooke said in 2015. NASA will stream the shower live from its Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, beginning at sunset.

"Both the peak intensity and the total number of meteoroids contained in the shower are increasing with time", NASA's Cooke explained to BuzzFeed News.

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