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Geminids, the king of meteor showers, peaks Dec. 13-14

60+ meteors per hour are expected, especially early Tuesday morning
Published: Dec. 8, 2021 at 11:51 AM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Make sure you circle next Monday and Tuesday on your calendars folks. It’s the peak of the annual Geminid meteor shower, which is known to be the king of all meteor showers by many.

The peak is the night of December 13th into the predawn hours of December 14th. This is when you can expect upwards of 60 meteors per hour, if not more. There have been plenty of years where there were more than that.

The Geminids will produce 60+ meteors per hour the night of December 13th.
The Geminids will produce 60+ meteors per hour the night of December 13th.(WSFA 12 News)

The shower gets its name because the meteors all appear to come from a point in the constellation Gemini. That point is called the radiant, and all meteor showers have one.

So if you look for Gemini in the night sky, you’ll be able to see where the meteors actually radiate from. You most definitely don’t have to look for Gemini to see shooting stars as they will be zipping by across the entirety of the night sky.

Where do the Geminids actually come from though? The answer to that would be 3200 Phaethon, which is considered to be either an asteroid or an extinct comet. Regardless of the exact designation, Earth passes through the dust trails left behind by 3200 Phaethon every December. The dust burns up in Earth’s atmosphere, creating the meteor shower we have grown to know and love!

The Geminids will produce 60+ meteors per hour the night of December 13th.
The Geminids will produce 60+ meteors per hour the night of December 13th.(WSFA 12 News)

If you plan on venturing out to see this excellent show, be sure to head to a location away from cities and light pollution. Also be sure to have an unobstructed view of the night sky in all directions for easy viewing.

Once you get to your location, give your eyes a solid 30 minutes to adjust to darkness, avoid looking at your phone screen and then just look up. That’s all you have to do!

You will be treated to a fantastic show from roughly 8 p.m. on December 13th through 6 a.m. on December 14th. The absolute best period to observe the Geminids will be between 12 a.m. and 4 a.m. that night.

Clear skies and cold temperatures are likely for the peak of the Geminids.
Clear skies and cold temperatures are likely for the peak of the Geminids.(WSFA 12 News)

The all-important question surrounding astronomical events is: Will Mother Nature cooperate? That is always the golden question. Based on what we’re seeing, the answer to that question is a resounding “yes!” High pressure should be in place across the Southeast, allowing skies to be mainly clear and conditions to be quiet and chilly.

That bodes excellently for anyone who wants to venture out and watch arguably the best show of the year when it comes to shooting stars!

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