Tonight, December 13, we are in for a special treat from one of the best meteor showers throughout the year: the Geminids!
Well, sort of.
First, the good news:
The Geminids will be visible all throughout the night sky, seeming to originate from the constellation Gemini. This shower is also one of the most spectacular, both due to the number and the fact that it occurs during the cold months, when skies tend to be clearer and more favorable (with the exception noted under “bad news” below) to viewing.
Now the bad news:
This is where the exception, or rather exceptions, I mentioned above come in. First, we have a full moon tonight. This one is also a so-called “supermoon”, when the Moon is not only full, but at it’s closest approach to Earth, which means it will be a bit brighter than normal. That means it will be a bit more difficult to see meteors tonight.
Also, if you are in the United States, you’ll be dealing with this:
Yes, much of the U.S is experiencing at least some cloud cover at the moment, which will not make viewing any easier. Trip to Mexico City, anyone?
A few quick viewing tips:
- The best viewing time is around 2AM, when their apparent point of origin will be highest in the ski. That said, the show should be good all night long.
- Dress warmly and bring some coffee, tea, or other hot drink of your choice.
- Allow your eyes to adjust for a full 20 minutes
- If you can’t catch them tonight, you should still see a few over the next few nights, as we will be in the Geminid’s path for a few more days.
So get out there, brave the elements, have a good look at that beautiful supermoon, and hope to catch a shooting star or two!