Carrie's blog: Best viewing of the Geminids Meteor Shower - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Carrie's blog: Best viewing of the Geminids Meteor Shower

Meteor Shower Meteor Shower

The Geminids Meteor Shower is happening now, and it will last through the night of December 14th when it will peak.

Who doesn’t love a good meteor shower? It’s especially nice when the weather is as pleasant as it has been the past couple of nights. Plus, I know several people who like to make wishes on the ‘falling stars’. I may or may not have done this before.

According to EarthSky.org, “The Geminid meteor shower is one of the finest meteor showers visible in either the Northern or the Southern Hemisphere. The meteors are plentiful, rivaling the August Perseids. Plus Geminid meteors are often bright.”

The lack of moonlight will be a plus for all the star gazers.

“Unlike most other meteor showers, the Geminids are associated not with a comet but with an asteroid - the 3200 Phaethon. The asteroid takes about 1.4 years to orbit around the Sun,” according to timeanddate.com.

Comets and asteroids leave behind trails of dust and other space debris as they orbit the sun. The reason we see such vivid streaks is that debris catches fire as it enter the earth’s atmosphere. As the debris burns out, that’s the streak you see across the sky.

The Geminids are caused by asteroid 3200 Phaethon, a “rock comet” on a long path through the solar system, according to EarthSky.

So when should you view? South Mississippians, could try their luck right after sunset, but anytime in the night hours, you might catch a glimpse at some asteroid dust streaking across the night sky. One positive about it getting dark earlier, you can get your kids interested in astronomy and science by sharing this experience with them, and it won’t be too late for them to stay awake.

Viewing is also super easy. Basically, all you need to do is look up. Observe the night sky, preferably away from any bright lights or city lights. I would suggest a blanket, pillow, chair and even some hot cocoa (don’t forget the marshmallows).

The weather for the viewing is going to be best Thursday and Friday night. We will see some passing clouds, but they shouldn’t totally block your sky view. Saturday and Sunday look like they will be pretty cloudy, and Sunday night into Monday morning will not only be cloudy, but it will be raining with some thunderstorms, too.

Now, forecast models hint at some pretty quick clearing behind that system which would be great because the last peak night will be Monday night. So, hopefully, all will be a go for Monday night viewing, but it will be colder with lows falling into the 40s by Tuesday morning.

At least we won’t be having to fight the moonlight to see any of the celestial fireworks! So, photographers, get your cameras ready, and try to capture some of the incredibly beautiful site of nature's fireworks.

Below are the moon rise and moon set times for the rest of the Geminids.

Thursday, December 10   Moonrise 5:46 am Moonset 4:43 pm

Friday, December 11- *New Moon* Moonrise 6:40 am Moonset 4:55 pm

Saturday, December 12   Moonrise 7:33 am Moonset 6:26 pm

Sunday, December 13   Moonrise 8:25 am Moonset 7:23 pm

Monday, December 14   Moonrise 9:13 am Moonset 8:22 pm

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