Geminid meteor shower peaking overnight

Geminid Meteor Shower to happen overnight (December 13, 2017)

Turn your eyes to the night sky! The Geminid meteor shower is set to peak in the early morning hours of Thursday, although you may be able to catch some "shooting stars" Wednesday night, too.

Liam McDaid, Sacramento City College's astronomy coordinator, said folks in Northern California have the best shot of seeing the most meteors between midnight and dawn.

At its peak, people can expect to see, on average, 1 to 2 meteors per minute.

"It won't be anything like a Michael Bay movie," McDaid said with a laugh.

He suggests people find a dark place to view the shower, as far as possible from light pollution, like in a park or near a body of water. He also recommends you bring a lawn chair that reclines all the way back - or lie on a blanket - so you can see as much of the sky at one time as possible.

"You want to be flat on your back, looking up at the sky and just kind of phasing out and just not really focusing on anything," McDaid said. "The meteors will appear, usually out of the corner of the field of vision. When they do, you might have enough time to see them if you turn your eye, you might not. But you will see meteors. They'll be out tonight."

The meteors are originating out of the Gemini constellation. People watching after midnight - at peak - should look for the Gemini and Orion constellations and face that direction.

"If you look at Gemini, you're not going to see anything except the ones coming right at you, but if you're looking to the sides of Gemini, you'll see more meteors," McDaid said, "and you want to see the ones with the long trails because they're going to be more noticeable."

NASA has a couple of informative videos about the meteor shower. According to this one, you'll enjoy darker skies for this year's Geminid meteor shower "due to a crescent moon not rising until a few hours before dawn."

© 2018 KXTV-TV


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