Geminid Meteor Shower Tonight and Tomorrow Night

Tonight promises to be a decent night for watching the annual Geminid meteor shower early in the evening though the prime viewing hours include chances of rain or even snow in the higher elevations. The Geminids reach an average of about 50 streaks an hour during their peak. But, in a shooting star extravaganza, there is a second possible meteor shower coming that could add even more meteors during the early hours.

EarthSky, the wellknown science site, says,

The source of the possible new shower is Comet 46P/Wirtanen. Bill Cooke of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office says debris left in Wirtanen’s orbit might produce as many as 30 meteors per hour, added to the 100 meteors per hour from the Geminids. That would be an awesome meteor show!

First of all it is the new moon (translation: there’s no moonlight tonight.) Therefore, the shooting stars will show up even more than usual.

Secondly, the skies are clear here in Southern Humboldt though by 9 P.M. the sky could begin to cloud and by prime viewing time at 2 A.M., there is a chance of showers which could turn to snow above 1500 feet.

To give yourself the best chance of seeing the show, plan on at least 20 minutes to allow your eyes to get used to the darkness.  Move as far from light sources as is practical (turning off any that you have control over.)  A lawn chair makes a great place to relax but any chair will do.  Wrap up in a sleeping bag and cozy up with a warm drink to watch the sky.

Earth Sky has more information here.

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