13 December 2012
Posted in Crosby Observatory
The best meteor shower of the year happens tonight when Earth passes through the debris tail of asteroid 3200 Phaethon.
The Geminid Meteor Shower can produce up to 120 meteors per hour – that’s an average of two per minute. What’s great is that it can be seen no matter where you live on the planet.
The meteor shower will peak around 8 p.m. at the observer’s respective local time, but will be at its most intense and directly overhead between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 14.
What makes this year’s Geminid meteor shower extra special is the fact it coincides with a new moon, meaning the dark conditions will make it that much easier to witness.
Speaking of light conditions, avoid as much light as you can. Get away from city lights, street lights, house lights – even the light emitted from your phone. You’ll want to limit light pollution and give your eyes a chance to dilate (at 15 minutes is recommended). A good way to tell your eyes have adapted is if you can spot all seven of the Little Dipper’s main stars. Of course, that also depends on the light conditions in your area.
If you can’t see this year’s shower or the conditions aren’t the best where you live, NASA is hosting a live Web cast from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. EST.
One last piece of advice: remember to keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the (shooting) stars!