Science

Meteor shower tonight expected to be best of the year

Meteor shower tonight expected to be best of the year”

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

"This is the best meteor shower this year", Sabin said. The celestial event will stand out by the absence of bright moonlight, as the moon will be a waning crescent and barely visible.

But there's no need to travel far to see the meteors jet across the night sky, said Jonathan Sabin, president of the Local Group of Deep Sky Observers (LGDSO) in the Sarasota and Bradenton area. And if it's cloudy where at your place, NASA will broadcast the Geminid shower live via Ustream starting at dusk December 13 from the Automated Lunar and Meteor Observatory at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

The Geminid shower gets its name because the meteors seem to originate near the constellation Gemini, or The Twins.

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The meteor shower appears annually when Earth passes through the point where its orbital path intersects with a stream of debris cast off from the asteroid 3200 Phaeton. With comets being the initial basis of meteor showers, a lot of dust grains accumulate and burn up as they reach our atmosphere.

The Geminid radiant is in the constellation Gemini. Usually what it means is you'll see nothing for five, six, seven or eight minutes. Viewing can be expected from sunset to sunrise but the greatest number will be seen between midnight and 4 am Thursday, according to NASA. The best time to view them will be from 10 pm until just before dawn.

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

To increase chances of catching sight of as many meteors as possible, Wibisono advises getting away from the city lights and into an open area with no tall trees or buildings obscuring the horizon. Do not forget to find a dark spot to watch from and allow your eyes to adjust. The agency is streaming the meteor shower tonight, broadcasting from the Automated Lunar and Meteor Observatory at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.



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