Geminids to peak this weekend, expected to be ‘best meteor shower of the year’

Nation/world
The Geminid meteor shower is seen from the Marshall Space Flight Center Posted on Dec. 12, 2016. (NASA)

The Geminid meteor shower is seen from the Marshall Space Flight Center
Posted on Dec. 12, 2016. (NASA)

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Stargazers have the opportunity to see what NASA is calling the “best meteor shower of the year” beginning this Sunday night.

The Geminid meteor shower will peak overnight into Monday morning and should be easier to view this year because the event coincides with a new moon, KTLA sister station KLAS in Las Vegas reports.

During the meteor shower, there will be up to 150 shooting stars every hour, but observers will likely see closer to 60, or about one every minute. The best viewing will be around 2 a.m. local time for the Northern Hemisphere, NASA reports.

You’ll be able to view the shooting stars without a telescope, but NASA recommends going somewhere that has a clear sky and is away from bright lights.

“Remember to let your eyes get adjusted to the dark – you’ll see more meteors that way. Keep in mind, this adjustment can take approximately 30 minutes,” the space agency advises.

They also say avoid looking at your cellphone, as that can ruin your adjustment to the dark.

NASA all offers this tip: “Avoid watching the radiant because meteors close to it have very short trails and are easily missed. When you see a meteor, try to trace it backwards. If you end up in the constellation Gemini, there’s a good chance you’ve seen a Geminid.”

If you can’t get away from the bright lights of the city, or if it’s overcast, NASA will be livestreaming the meteor shower’s peak on Facebook.

The Geminid Meteor shower is active from Dec. 4 – 17 but will be most visible Dec. 13 and 14.

According to Astronomy.com, the Geminids have been traced back to an asteroid, 3200 Phaethon, which has a highly inclined orbit that carries it around the Sun once every 1.4 years. This orbit brings it closer to our star than any other asteroid.

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