Happening Tonight: Geminid Meteor Shower

Here’s why almost every country in the world will be able to see the Geminid meteor shower

As they enter Earth's atmosphere at an angle, the Geminids have a slower closing speed than many other comets, making them easier to photograph compared to other meteor showers.

The Geminids are active every December, when Earth passes through a massive trail of dusty debris shed by a weird, rocky object named 3200 Phaethon.

"This is the best meteor shower this year", Sabin said. With the past few meteor showers, a full or almost full moon has not made for the best viewing conditions.

For the best view, look at the eastern sky just after midnight and get away from urban areas to avoid light pollution.

The Geminid meteor shower, which peaks tonight into Thursday morning, could be particularly bright this year. Expect to see meteors at a rate of about one per minute, says Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office.

Geminids occur around this day every year and are caused by Earth passing through a stream of dust particles left by the comet Phaethon. This shower is predicted to be at its maximum at around 2 am on 14 December, when the Gemini constellation will be nearly overhead, and the number of meteors can reach up to 120 per hour.

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An image of the Geminid meteor shower in 2010.

"They can be seen with the naked eye so there's no need for binoculars or a telescope, though you will need to adjust your eyes to the dark".

The Geminids can be seen all around the world. If you're going to look at a meteor shower, dress up, and look at this one.

After 4 am, the moon will brighten the sky for rural observers while those in urban areas will have the best view if they watch from an area without streetlights.

You can find the Virtual Telescope YouTube livestream above or by clicking here.

For stargazers not willing to fearless the cold, Space.com will be airing a live broadcast of the Geminids, courtesy of NASA, beginning at 5:40 p.m.

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