Where to Watch Tonight's Geminids Meteor Shower

The Geminid meteor shower

The Geminid meteor showerImage Shutterstock Genevieve de Messieres

The Geminid Meteor Shower, one of the brightest meteor showers, appears every year in December. Initially spotted over three decades ago, they are called Geminids because the shower seems to begin from the constellation "Gemini". Expected to be at their peak on Thursday and Friday night (Dec. 13-14, 2018), the dependable meteors rank high in both quantity and quality. According to Earthsky.org, meteors intensify in number as the evening deepens into late night, with 2am pinpointed as the prime viewing time.

They'll look impressive from the ground but the falling stars are actually just small rocks that have broken off asteroids before burning up in the Earth's atmosphere.

"If you've got a clear, dark sky with no light pollution, you might see a meteor streak across the sky every minute or two from 10 p.m. until dawn on the night of the peak", Hannikainen said. Based on my own observations under good conditions with no moon in the sky, I typically see around 30 to 40 per hour. You'd likely see a few soaring across the sky.

According to AccuWeather, people in the central USA will have the best view of the meteor shower, while those in northwestern and eastern states will mostly see clouds.

The Geminid Meteor Shower, while one of the brightest, is often overlooked because it always occurs when it's cold outside.

The Geminid meteor shower is set to peak Thursday night into Friday morning and people all over the world were getting ready to see the last big meteor shower of 2018.

"If you can see the familiar winter constellations Orion and Gemini in the sky, you'll see some Geminids", NASA explained in a skywatching video.

The American Meteor Society recommends shooting the meteor shower with a camera that can take an exposure in the range of 1 to 10 minutes. Just make sure if you are trying to get a glimpse of the early-time meteors, to keep the moon at your back.

To see the meteor shower you need to be facing south and you should be able to see it without the need of any telescopes as long as the sky isn't too cloudy.

And though the Geminids were first documented in the 1860s, this meteor shower is relatively new.

WHEN: Closest to Earth on December 16, but dimly visible already (best viewed with binoculars or telescope).

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