On a clear day this week-or should we say night- the natural spectacle of the Geminids Meteor Shower will be featured peaking in the overnight hours of Dec-13-14. However, this year’s meteor-viewing may be dimmed by the full moon.
Starry, starry night
Skywatchers should take heart though, as the Geminids are usually at the top of the list of reliable viewing when it comes to meteors, in terms of brightness. The meteor show can also be visible before and after the peak time so watchers should be looking up the evening of December 12 to the morning of the December 15 to fully cover the viewing opportunity.
At peak, the Geminids can produce up to 120 meteors per hour that travel at speeds up to 22 miles per second. The meteors, will appear in all parts of the sky this year and according to EarthSky will be joined by a visible planet Jupiter from between 2 am until dawn.
This year, the Geminid shower is arriving at the same time as the bright full December moon also lights up the sky.
Appropriately, the December full moon is also known as the Full Cold Moon. It earned this title from its history of lighting the sky in typical December frigid temperatures. It is also known as the Long Night’s Moon due to its occurrence just before the Winter Solstice on December 21- the longest night of the year.
December Forecast- More Showers on the Way
If viewing conditions are not ideal to view the Geminids, do not despair, you still can catch the Ursids Meteor Shower, arriving a week later from Dec 17-Dec 24.The Ursids will peak about December 23. At the Ursids’ peak, watchers could see up to 10 meteors per hour.
While the Geminids, which show up as “dust” or meteoroids on the 13-14 of the month, are produced by the trails of debris from the asteroid 3200 Phaethon, as the Earth crosses its orbital path, the Ursids are produced by the trails of the comet Tuttle.
Meteor- Watcher Tips
As far away as possible from bright lights is the best place to watch the meteor show. It is also important to give yourself an hour of good observation time. The meteors can come in spurts so if you see one, be ready for another. Also it can take up to 20 minutes for your eyes to fully adapt to the night sky.
Featured Image: https://twitter.com/MirrorTech/status /803995337660698624
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