Geminids meteor shower peaking overnight


Some might be sporadic background meteors, and some might be from weaker, active showers like the Monocerotids, Sigma Hydrids and the Comae Berenicids.

The Geminids shower occurs every December when the Earth passes through a trail of dusty debris left by an object named 3200 Phaethon, a space rock NASA describes as "weird".

Although this meteor shower happens every year, this year is expected to be the one best yet. The peak viewing time will be around 12:30 a.m. Thursday, but you can still see meteors earlier or after that time.

As the shower peaks, Jupiter and the crescent Moon will be having a close encounter in the eastern pre-dawn sky.

While Gemini is the constellation where people look for the meteor shower, Marshall Mattson said just looking up into the sky will be enough to see the shooting stars. Most of the Geminid meteors will appear to originate to the right of the bright star Castor, which viewers will see as the twin standing to the right of his brother.

The dust pieces, no bigger than a grain of sand, burn up as they smash into the Earth's atmosphere, up to 100 miles about the surface at speeds of up to 100,000mph.

Geminids meteor shower
Getty Geminids meteor shower You will not need any specialist equipment to view the meteor shower

Getting outside also gives you the opportunity to snap some interesting meteor shower pictures.

The best way to view tonight's shower is with the human eye so there is no need to use binoculars or a telescope.

Bill Cooke with NASA's meteoroid environment office said there will likely be 120 meteors visible per hour over rural skies.

You may spot a meteor as early as 7 PM this evening, but the best viewing window will be between 10 PM and 3 AM.

For the best conditions, you want to find a safe location away from street lights and other sources of light pollution.

If your skies aren't clear or you're not able to head outside for the shower, check out NASA's meteor webcam tonight live starting at sunset.

More news: #EndorseThis: On SNL, Santa's Tricky Moment With Savvy Kids
More news: Europe's Unibail bids $16 billion for Westfield to counter online threat
More news: Several injured in major gas pipeline explosion outside Vienna