Geminid meteor shower arrives overnight


The Geminids meteor shower is due to peak on Wednesday night, as our planet passes through the biggest swath of a trail of cosmic debris left over by a long-extinct comet. It is an early foreshadowing of the Geminid Meteor shower, which will peak December 13-14.

While the peak is expected to occur when you can see about 120 meteors per hour at about 2 a.m. on December 14, National Weather Service meteorologist Eric Metzger said the moon and cloud cover in the Wichita area are likely to steal the show.

Good viewing conditions are expected in the Upstate, but we could have some clouds for the mountains as we have the remnants of northwest flow snow showers lingering Tuesday night. When Earth plows through a stream of meteoroids, creating a much higher rate of meteors, we call it a meteor shower.

"They are not a very speedy meteor and, because they are not travelling as swiftly through the Earth's atmosphere, these ones can take on a bit of a yellowish or orangey glow to them", Florian said. And this year, they're predicted to yield about 120 meteors per hour.

Last year, the shower peaked at the same time as the supermoon, which washed out the fainter meteors.

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The best meteor shower of the year is here.

Notably, the Geminids are also one of two meteor showers that come from what is believed to be an asteroid. It will peak around 2am, when the sky is darkest. The Moon will be a barely-there waning crescent.

In the D.C. metro area, begin to look for the show before about 10 p.m. when the brightest stars in the Gemini constellation will rise above the horizon.

If you can, try to go somewhere away from city lights. They also suggest to give your eyes about 20 minutes to adapt to the dark for optimal viewing. As they write, "it's even possible to have your back to the constellation Gemini and see a Geminid meteor fly by".