The Geminid Meteor Shower will peak tonight, December 13th, but stargazers might not be able to see the spectacular show. The bright nearly full moon could drown out the normally stellar light show.
The Geminid Meteor Shower is the second major sky watching event within the last few days. Stargazers were just treated to a full lunar eclipse and tonight they’ll be able to, hopefully, see the Geminid meteors.
Bill Cooke, head of the Meteoroid Environments Office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, told SPACE.com:
“This year, folks will get a nice double whammy with the lunar eclipse on the 10th, and then the Geminid peak on the night of the 13th, but it would be nice if we could just turn off the moon after the eclipse.”
Wired reports that your best chance to catch a glimpse of the Geminid meteor shower is between 10 p.m. tonight and sunrise tomorrow morning. Even with the moonlight, NASA is expecting to see about 2 meteors every minute.
“Our all-sky network of meteor cameras has captured several early Geminid fireballs. They were so bright, we could see them despite the moonlight.”
If you don’t feel like braving the cold tonight, NASA is providing a live feed of tonight’s meteor shower. (The live feed will start at 10 PM CST.)
So what are the Geminids? NASA writes:
“The Geminids are pieces of debris from an object called 3200 Phaethon, which is something of a mystery. Near closest approach to the Sun (perihelion), Phaethon exhibits increases in brightness similar to that of a comet; however, its orbit is characteristic of an asteroid. Extinct comet or asteroid? The debate still rages among astronomers.”
Are you going to try to watch the Geminid meteor shower tonight? Or will you just hang out at home and watch it from your computer?