Geminid Showers Promise A Stellar Show This Week

The year's most spectacular meteor shower is this weekend

The Geminid meteor shower will be most visible over Norfolk on December 13.

The annual Geminids meteor shower scatters the sky each December, and with very little moonlight interference expected, residents should get good visibility in clear skies. The shower is associated with 3200 Phaethon, an asteroid that is believed to have collided with another object many years ago.

The Geminids look as if they originate from the constellation Gemini, hence the name.

This year, the Geminids peak overnight between Thursday and Friday (December 13 and 14).

The Geminid meteor shower will be visible from most parts of the world, but those in the Northern hemisphere will get the best show. Popping in and out of the house to warm up, means you could miss out, but also that your eyes will need to start again with the light adjusting. Matthew Cappucci of the Washington Post recommends not looking directly at the Gemini constellation, which in this context is known as the shower's "radiant", because you'll see only quick flashes of light. "Today's slideshow Doodle follows the Geminids' path through Earth's atmosphere as it lights up the sky", said Google in a blog post. That's when the meteor shower is supposed to peak.

The Perseids in summer result in around 80 per hour again with bright meteors but with plenty of trains, the long streaks across the skies.

As such, 2018 should be the best year ever to watch the Geminids if the weather is clear where you are.

The reports came from more rural and dark locations - away from the District's light pollution - which always make the best place to view meteor showers.

The space rock is named after Phaethon, the son of the Greek sun god Helios.

The ideal time to train your eyes skyward would be past midnight tonight i.e. 12 am and until 2 am on Friday night. You'll see the most meteors if you lean back and look at as much of the sky as possible; don't be tempted to use a telescope or binoculars, because they'll restrict your field of view.

The 46P/Wirtnanen comet, which is about 3/4 of a mile long, should move across the sky the morning of December 16, according to NASA, and binoculars or a telescope will help you get a better view. A meteor flash is seen here with an aurora borealis shimmer in Norway.

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