[credit provider=”Tydence Davis” url=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/tydence/5292463727/”]
The Geminid meteor shower, described by astronomers as the most intense meteor shower of the year, peaks tonight, Thursday, Dec. 13. NASA will host a live Web cast of the shower tonight, starting at 11 p.m. and running to 3 a.m EST.
The Geminid meteor shower can produce up to 120 meteors per hour, which “can be seen from almost any point on Earth,” according to NASA astronomer Bill Cooke.
That means all skygazers have to do is step outside late at night and choose a dark spot in the sky. It’s a good idea to steer clear of street lights and other forms of glare. You don’t need binoculars or any other equipment to view the streaming fireballs. Just look up.
“Under a clear, dark sky, you may see at least one Geminid per minute on average from roughly 10 p.m. Thursday until dawn Friday morning,” says Sky & Telescope’s Alan MacRobert.
The Geminid meteor shower occurs as Earth passes through a string of space debris, including rock and ice, from an extinct comet called 3200 Phaethon. This happens every year in mid-December.
These meteors fly into our atmosphere from the constellation Gemini, from which they get their name, and create a beautiful light show as they burn up.
Editor’s note: Snap any pictures of the meteor shower? Send them to [email protected] with a location and we’ll publish them here.