Look up tonight to see the best meteor shower of the year

Posted December 15, 2017

The Geminids are the most prolific meteors of the year, but the wintry shower is perhaps less known than its summer counterparts such as the Orionids.

An nearly absent moon will ensure that the meteors, widely regarded as the most impressive of the year, stand out brightly as they streak across the sky.

The meteors can be seen in all parts of the sky, so it's good to be in a wide open space where you can scan the night sky with your eyes.

The Geminids meteor shower will be visible in the night sky between the late evening hours of Wednesday and pre-dawn Thursday. Depending on where you are (most of MA, for example), cloudy skies will make meteor shower watching a non-starter tonight.

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The 3200 Phaethon orbits the Earth every 1.4 years and comes ever-so-close to earth, at about 150 million kilometres, and that's what makes this light show one of the most spectacular. Most of the Geminid meteors will appear to originate to the right of the bright star Castor, which viewers will see as the twin standing to the right of his brother.

Individual slow-burning meteors have been breaking out since December 4, but the real show will take place during its peak next week.

But if you are a constellation aficionado, don't focus mainly on the Gemini constellation. Having an asteroid as the foundation of a meteor shower provides an excellent source of dust grains that will burn up as they dive into the Earth's atmosphere, according to NASA.

You can find the Virtual Telescope YouTube livestream above or by clicking here.

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British Columbians, it's your view the the Geminids meteor shower! But you'll be able to see the streaks and fireballs from around then until about early morning, so if you want to set your alarm a little later, enjoy the rest.

You may spot a meteor as early as 7 PM this evening, but the best viewing window will be between 10 PM and 3 AM. Also, remember that all shooting stars visible in the sky should not necessarily be Geminids.

Nepal Astronomical Society has said that up to 120 such meteor showers can be viewed in an hour at the time when it is most active.

NASA will stream the Geminid shower live starting at sunset from its Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

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