BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Bundle up and lose a little sleep, and you just might be rewarded with some out of this world fireworks. NASA says tonight will be peak viewing time for the Geminid meteor shower.
“Tonight is going to be one of the best meteor showers of the year”, says Jim Jeletic, with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. “Hoping we can see 120 an hour, which would be spectacular.”
Bill Cooke, with NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office, agrees.
“With August’s Perseids obscured by bright moonlight, the Geminids will be the best shower this year,” he said in a news release. “The thin, waning crescent moon won’t spoil the show.”
The Geminid shower is unique in that every other meteor shower is the result of earth passing through the dusty remains of a comet’s tail. The Geminid is the only one produced by the gravel that trailed after a rocky asteroid.
According to Jeletic, “these meteors are actually a little bigger and thicker because they’re from an asteroid, as opposed to the dust from the tail of a comet, so they’re going to take longer to burn up and they’re going to leave longer streaks, we’re hoping.”
NASA says the shower should begin after 10 p.m., picking up intensity after midnight. For best viewing, find a dark place and look toward the south.
The meteor shower was named after the constellation Gemini because many of the meteors appear to come from that constellation. You can use apps like as Sky Guide for iOS and Sky Map for Android to help find it.