TUCSON, ARIZ. — every December, we receive a present from the skies called the Geminid meteor shower. this is one of the most active meteor showers of the year and is also one of the easiest to watch.
This year, we could see up to one hundred twenty meteors per hour! Last year, some meteor observers saw as many as one hundred sixty meteors per hour.
Another nice thing about the Geminid meteor shower is that you will be able to see many meteors before midnight. Most meteor showers really don’t perform until after midnight. the perfect viewing time will be around 2 a.m., so dress warm!
The Geminids will peak Thursday and Friday night. My suggestion is to do your viewing Thursday night because it’s like we will see mostly cloudy skies by Friday night.
Meteors will be easy to spot by just looking up. If you wish to focus on the radiant, the point in the sky where meteors appear to originate, then focus your attention towards the constellation Gemini.
If you’re viewing before midnight, you’ll notice Gemini in the eastern skies simply to the left of Orion. after midnight, Gemini can have moved into the west-southwestern skies. Going into the desert, away from town lights, would provide the most effective viewing experience but even town dwellers will be able to see some meteors streaking across the sky.
The Geminid meteors come from an asteroid with the name 3200 Phaethon, an asteroid that orbits the sun each 1.4 years. The name Phaethon comes from the ancient Greek god Apollo.
Phaethon was Apollo’s son. even though the asteroid’s name dates all the way back to Ancient Greek times, the actual Geminid meteor shower is estimated to be nearly two hundred years old and is producing more meteors than ever.
Most of the meteors burn up in the upper levels of the Earth’s atmosphere that is about sixty miles on top of Earth’s surface.
Best of luck with your meteor viewing!