Published: Thu, December 14, 2017
Markets | By Erika Turner

NASA's tips for watching the meteor shower tonight

NASA's tips for watching the meteor shower tonight

The shower will peak this Wednesday night, December 13th, when up to 120 shooting stars could tear through our skies every hour. On a dark night, you can often see 50-100 meteors an hour. This year's show might be particularly spectacular, because the waning crescent moon won't spoil the show.

NASA scientists said the Geminid meteor show will be the best shower of 2017, so you don't want to miss it! The constellation of Gemini is in the eastern sky in December but having a wide view of the night sky helps more than direction.

The Geminid meteor shower can be seen every year between December 4-16, with its peak activity occurring around December 13-14.

Unlike most other meteor showers, which are caused by the debris of comets that have passed through the solar system, the Geminids are caused by the asteroid 3200 Phaethon, which is also sometimes referred to as a rock comet.

"Geminid activity is broad", said Cooke.

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In order to witness the full velocity of the meteor shower you need to get yourself to a dark place, outside of a highly built up area in order to maximise the meteors you will see.

Meteor showers don't require binoculars or telescopes to view - just your bare eyes. The annual meteor shower happens when the earth travels through individual streams of cosmic dust. For best viewing, NASA advises moving away from bright lights that can interfere with seeing the celestial show.

The Geminid meteor shower is almost 200 years old, according to known records. "The meteors will appear in all parts of the sky", explained Bruce McClure and Deborah Byrd on EarthSky. Observers will see fewer Geminids in the Southern Hemisphere, where the radiant doesn't climb very high over the horizon.

You could start looking for the showers around 9 p.m. and the show will continue up until 5 a.m.

The best viewing conditions on Wednesday night will be across the southern and western USA, where cloud-free conditions are expected.

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