Geminid Meteor Shower Peaks Tonight: What You Need To Know About The Big Event

Geminid meteor shower

The Geminid meteor shower will put on quite the show this evening into Monday morning with meteors clocking in at a rate of 100 per hour. The Geminids will be visible starting at 7:00 p.m. PST; however, the best viewing will take place just before dawn on Monday morning.

NASA reports that this year’s Geminids will be in full swing on December 13, 2015, with the shower beginning at 7:00 p.m. PST. In honor of the meteor shower, NASA will be hosting an online question and answer session on Twitter. Viewers can tweet the hashtag #askNASA starting at 11:00 p.m. EST. The Geminids Q&A will run from 11:00 p.m. EST to 3:00 a.m. EST.

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center will be hosting the question session and will also be using the hashtag #Geminid.

NASA notes that the best viewing for this year’s Geminids meteor shower will be just before dawn on Monday morning. However, meteors will be viewable throughout the night with as many as 100 meteors shooting through the sky during any given hour.

If it is too cloudy in your area for good viewing, or if you prefer to view the meteors from inside, Slooh Space For Everyone will be streaming the Geminids live from their website. The L.A. Times is also live-streaming the Slooh feed. According to the Times, this year’s meteor shower is during a waxing crescent moon. This means the sky will be very dark and makes for perfect meteor shower viewing. Therefore, with clear skies, sky watchers will be able to watch the Geminids in their full glory without the bright moonlight obstructing the bright fireballs as they streak across the sky.

In addition to the dark skies, the Geminids will be putting on one of their better shows due to the gravitational influence of Jupiter and Saturn. This gravitational force, according to the Royal Astronomy Society, helps shift a denser debris stream closer to our planet making the meteor shower more intense. It is noted that though the meteor shower will peak just before dawn on Monday morning, that doesn’t mean that early sky watchers aren’t in for a treat.

In fact, astronomers say that though there will be fewer meteors in the sky early in the evening, the meteors that do show up during this time will stay in the air longer and be brighter to the eye. Therefore, if you want to see the more impressive individual meteors, early evening is your best bet. However, once the early morning hours hit, as many as 100 meteors will be streaming through the sky each hour making it more of a spectacle for those wanting to see higher quantities of the fiery rocks.

Be sure to follow standard meteor watching tips for the Geminids. The most important aspect of a perfect meteor watching party is a dark sky. Therefore, go to the place with the least light pollution. Be sure to get there about 20 minutes before you plan to watch the event as your eyes will need to adjust to the low light level.

Will you be watching the Geminids? If so, will you be watching for the more impressive long-stream meteors early in the evening or for a higher quantity of the rocks closer to dawn?

[Image via AP]