BOSTON (CBS) – Are you ready? One of the best meteor showers of the entire year is peaking late Monday night!
The Geminid Meteor Shower occurs each year in December and quite often can produce a terrific show.
First here’s a bit of the back story.
The Geminds were created by an asteroid (3200 Phaethon) that likely collided with another object hundreds of years ago leaving a trail of particles which Earth passes through each December in its orbit. They are called the Geminids because they appear to emanate from the constellation Gemini. Gemini can be found by locating the constellation Orion in the southwestern sky and looking up and to the left. If you have trouble locating it, no worries, you will be able to see meteors just about anywhere in the night sky Monday night as long as you have an open, unobstructed view away from artificial light.
The Geminids are known for being very bright and numerous. This year, under the right conditions, you could see as many as 150 in an hour. While skies should remain clear for most of Monday night, the one issue will be the moonlight. Unfortunately our moon is just a few days away from being full, so the light will work against us a bit, washing out some of the brightness of the streaking meteors.
Therefore, the peak viewing time will be quite late, after 2 a.m., once the moon has set. The best viewing “window” would be between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. Tuesday.
If you can’t stay up that late (or get up that early), you will be able to see some faint meteors after about 9 p.m. Monday.
Just lie back, be patient and, most importantly, find the darkest spot you can, away from city lights. It’s always best to give it time, say about a half hour or so, to allow your eyes to adjust to the dark. The temperatures will be dropping into the 30s Monday night, so bundle up!
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