SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - South Mississippi could be treated to a dazzling display of shooting stars as the annual Geminid Meteor Shower comes to a peak this week. NASA says this could the best meteor shower of the year thanks to less moonlight, resulting in darker skies to see the bright streaks of light.
The Geminids are visible throughout the first few weeks of December with a gradual increase in activity leading up to the peak which comes the night of December 13th into the early morning hours of December 14th.
Can you see them in South Mississippi?
Yes, weather permitting. For best viewing, get away from city lights and give your eyes about 30 minutes to adjust to the darkness. Look up in any direction. You don't need any special glasses or binoculars to see them.
NASA says up to 1 meteor per minute will be possible under ideal conditions – clear skies and no light pollution from populated areas. The Geminid Meteor Shower has been known to produce anywhere from 60-120 meteors per hour.
Where do they come from?
The Geminids occur when earth travels through a tail of debris caused by a rocky space object called 3200 Phaethon. Tiny pieces of debris burn up as they enter the earth's atmosphere, resulting in brilliant flashes of light streaking across the sky. It is called the Geminid Meteor shower because meteors appear to come from the constellation, Gemini.
If you plan on going out, be sure to bundle up. Expect cold nights with temperatures ranging from the mid-30s to low 40s. There may be a little increase in cloud cover during the peak Wednesday night. Check the latest forecasts by opening your WLOX Weather App or by heading to our Weather Page.