Geminid Meteor Shower to Peak Dec. 13
The Geminid meteor shower, reportedly the most intense meteor shower of the year, is expected to peak around 2 a.m. Dec. 13
Skies should cooperate this week as the Geminid meteor shower peaks Dec. 13.
The week of Dec. 10-16 is the window for Geminid-watching, but from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 13 and Friday, Dec. 14 is the time it is expected to peak, according to NASA.
"With no moon to ruin the show, 2012 presents a most favorable year for watching the grand finale of the meteor showers," Earthsky reports. "Best viewing of the Geminids will probably be from about 1 a.m. to 3 a.m. on December 14."
The Geminid Meteor Shower is the last shooting star cluster before New Year's, expected to peak in the pre-dawn hours after midnight between Dec. 13 and Dec. 15. They will be visible in all parts of the sky and streak through the sky at more than 50 meteors per hour, almost a meteor a minute, according to EarthSky. The new moon is expected to fall on Dec. 13, making for optimal dark skies—as long as you avoid city lights and clouds, the website states.
What are the Geminids?
The Geminids, unlike most meteor showers caused by icy comets, come from a rocky object named the 3200 Phaethon, NASA reports.
Astronomers long thought the 3200 Phaethon was an asteroid. It is now defined as an extinct comet, or a "rocky skeleton of a comet that lost its ice after too many close encounters with the sun," according to NASA.
Share your tips for photographing the showers. Tell us your favorite places to sneak off to view the skies.
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