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Geminid Meteor Shower to Peak Tuesday Night

12 Dec 2016, 4:29 pm

(Geminids Photo credit: Jason Jenkins | Flickr via NASA)

While the holiday season may make for a spectacular light show in your neighborhood, the Geminid meteor shower may put on a show that rivals your over-achieving neighbor. The meteor shower, in progress now, will be peaking Tuesday night into Wednesday.  According to NASA, the Geminds normally produce a rate of 100 to 120 meteors per hour at peak. It is often one of the most spectacular meteor showers of the year. This year with a full and bright Supermoon, the rate will likely be lowered to around 40 an hour. Cloud cover may also be an issue, with areas along the East Coast, Great Lakes, and California dealing with storm systems.

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(Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA says the best way to observe the Geminids is to “get away from bright lights, lay on your back and look up. Let your eyes get adjusted to the dark – you will see more meteors that way.” Looking eastward toward the constellation Gemini may help, although meteors can generally be seen all over the sky.

“Geminids are pieces of debris from an object called 3200 Phaethon. Long thought to be an asteroid, Phaethon is now classified as an extinct comet. Basically it is the rocky skeleton of a comet that lost its ice after too many close encounters with the sun. Earth runs into a stream of debris from 3200 Phaethon every year in mid-December, causing meteors to fly from the constellation Gemini,” NASA said. The celestial show was first seen during the American Civil war and has grown much more vibrant since that time.


(Geminids Photo Credit: Jeff Dai via NASA)


(Geminids Photo Credit: Jimmy Westlake via NASA)

If you’re unable to watch the Geminids, NASA’s Marshall Spaceflight Center in Huntsville, Alabama will have a live stream of the event. Coverage will start at 8 p.m. CST on Tuesday and continue to 6 a.m. Wednesday.

For WeatherNation: Meteorologist Mace Michaels

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