Look to the sky Sunday to see the year’s brightest comet


All you need to do is bundle up and head out to a dark area with little cloud cover and an unobstructed view of the sky to see the shooting stars.

According to NASA, watching the shower is pretty easy, provided you can get yourself somewhere really, really dark.

To check out the show, Bill Cooke from NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office advises urges waiting until the moon goes down at around 10:30 p.m. local time before heading outside without your cell phone, because its screen can mess up your night vision.

"Lie flat on your back and look straight up, taking in as much sky as possible".

Of course, that's all if you're in the countryside. Going into the desert, away from city lights, would provide the best viewing experience but even city dwellers will be able to see a few meteors streaking across the sky. While the August Perseid meteor shower is more famous, experts are saying to get outside for this one as well. So the sky is darker, and the shooting stars will be higher in the sky, and thus brighter. The Geminids are caused by a massive asteroid known as 3200 Phaethon. Given their medium speeds, you'll be able to view one to two meteors per minute in the night sky.

The Doodle on Thursday follows the Geminids' path through Earth's atmosphere as it lights up the sky through a slideshow. But 3200 Phaethon has an orbit matching the Geminids, making it the prime candidate.

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The comet will be visible to the naked eye when it flies by Sunday.

As the Earth passes through the debris-laden orbit of Phaethon, small grains of dust blaze through our atmosphere at about 80,000 miles per hour (130,000 kph), brightly disintegrating along the way.

The Geminid shower comes as news of a "Christmas comet" is expected to pass earth later this week.

"The secret behind this shower is that its source is not actually a comet, but likely a rock comet or the nucleus of a dead comet-which means we are getting rocky bits that are blown off with interactions with the sun", Rodgers explains.

A celestial fireworks show is brewing in the Wichita skies this week.

When viewing the meteor shower, Filippenko recommends observing for at least half an hour, though preferably an hour or longer, to accommodate for the time it takes for people's eyes to adjust to the darkness.