The annual Geminids meteor shower, which has been active since November 19 and is expected to remain active through December 24, will reach its peak this Wednesday, December 14.
While the beautiful phenomenon of a meteor shower isn’t that rare, this one is particularly special because unlike some meteor showers that can only be viewed in the hours before sunrise, the Geminids are active all night long, according to AccuWeather.
However, though this annual event often boasts over 100 meteors per hour when viewed from dark locations, onlookers this year shouldn’t set their expectations too high due to the moon–a bright waning gibbous moon that will rise around 10p.m. for most locations.
Additionally, being this meteor shower occurs in December, cold temperatures often accompanied by cloudy skies in the Northern Hemisphere make viewing this phenomenan quite the challenge.
So how can you attempt to gaze upon this spectacular phenomenon?
The American Meteor Society (AMS) suggests observing the shower between dusk and moonrise (around 10p.m.) on the evening of Tuesday, December 13 as the lack of moonlight during these hours will reduce the risk of meteors being washed out.
Meteors seen during this time, called “Earthgrazers,” will appear as long-lasting meteors that streak across a large area of the sky.
Meteors can appear in any part of the sky, so no need to look in a certain direction, and while they can be seen in various colors, the brightest ones tend to be green.
If the night sky conditions are too cloudy on Tuesday night, hopeful gazers can try to again look for these meteors on Wednesday night, Thursday night, and Friday night if the weather improves. The number of meteors visible on these nights won’t be as high, but hourly rates will be higher than other nights of the meteor shower.
Wishing all hopeful meteor gazers good luck!