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The Geminids meteor shower promises to be the year's best

Skies should be mostly clear for shooting stars

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Expect the annual Geminid meteor shower which peaks Wednesday night and Thursday morning to be a good one this year.

Skies will be mostly clear but some high cirrus could increase as we head toward dawn. 

The Geminids could be the best show of the year because of the darkness. With a thin crescent moon, moonlight won't be much of a problem especially with it's late rise over Jacksonville at 3:53 a.m.

The best viewing will be after midnight on Thursday morning according to Astronomy professor Mike D. Reynolds, Ph.D. at Florida State College at Jacksonville. He recommends looking towards the east early around 9am when the radiant will be about 1/3 up (30 degrees). The rate of meteors should pick up toward 2 a.m. Dr. Reynolds says to look directly overhead toward the radiant in Gemini.

The shower will peak overnight Dec. 13-14 with up to 120 meteors per hour. Even though you can spot meteors before and after the peak, the frequency would be less than one per minute.

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. The dust and grit burn up when they run into Earth's atmosphere showcasing the streak of light.

Learn More about the Geminids
Experts from NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office will be live on Facebook to discuss the Geminids beginning at 8 p.m. on Dec. 12.

 


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