One of the best meteor showers of the year, and what is also being deemed as one of the most “reliable annual meteor showers,” is happening this month.
NASA officials said the Geminids meteor shower will begin Dec. 4 and last through Dec. 17 as Earth works its way through a trail of debris that was left behind by asteroid 3200 Phaethon, or what NASA said could actually be a “burnt-out comet.”
The annual Geminids meteor shower is expected to be even better this year. NASA said the shower’s peak coincides with a nearly new moon. This means the skies will be darker this year, and no moonlight will interfere with the meteor shower’s viewing.
What's Up: December 2020 Skywatching Tips from NASA
What's up in the night sky in December? 🌠 🔭 Catch the Geminids meteor shower as the peak coincides with darker skies during a new Moon. Plus, Jupiter & Saturn appear closer than in decades, and the winter solstice arrives. When & where to observe: https://youtu.be/NEVCDhEyKx0 Additional information about topics covered in this episode of What's Up, along with still images from the video, and the video transcript, are available at: https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/whats-up-skywatching-tips-from-nasa. Credit: NASA/JPL-CaltechPosted by NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration on Wednesday, December 2, 2020
NASA officials said the Geminids will peak overnight on Dec. 13 into the morning of Dec. 14. However, some meteor activity may be able to be seen both before and after the meteor shower, as well.
If you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, you’ll be able to have a good viewing of the meteor shower all night, with activity peaking around 2 a.m. local time, according to NASA. If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, the best time to watch will be after midnight.
For the best viewing, NASA officials say you should find a safe location away from bright city lights, lie flat on the ground with your feet pointing south and to just simply look up to the sky.
And, don’t forget to look to the sky on Dec. 21 as Jupiter and Saturn will nearly collide and form a rare phenomenon known as a “Christmas star.” You can read more about this rare happening here.
To learn more about this meteor shower, visit NASA’s website here.