Geminid meteors peak Wednesday and they could be amazing!

Geminid meteors peak Wednesday
Published: Dec. 12, 2017 at 3:31 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 13, 2017 at 4:08 PM EST
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(WWBT) - I try not to hype up every meteor shower, because they aren't all good.

But the Geminids which peak Wednesday, Dec. 13 could be amazing this year. There are a few reasons WHY we might hit the meteor jackpot

1) The Moon.  The Moon will be a barely-there waning crescent. Without any moonlight, the meteors have a better chance to shine.

2) Evening Viewing. While most meteor showers are only good to see in the early morning (and the BEST viewing will be starting around 2 a.m.)  The Geminids will provide a decent chance in the evening.  Starting around 9pm, you should give it a try!

3) Fireball Potential.  Geminids are notable for being relatively slow.  That means they won't leave you saying, "Did I just see a meteor?"  When you see a good Geminid, you know it.  These can sometimes have a classic "Disney Movie" look to them.

4) From Sky and Telescope:  

The Geminid maximum also coincides with a bright return of its parent asteroid, 3200 Phaethon. On the night of maximum, Phaethon won't be very far away, clipping across neighboring Perseus at about 30″ a minute at its peak predicted magnitude of 10.7.

But, it's not all good for Virginia Viewing.

1) Clouds.  Uh oh.  There's a good chance of clouds Wednesday evening into early Thursday Morning.  This is from a clipper system that might even produce a few snowflakes.

2)  Temperature:  The Geminids peak in winter, so if you are headed out to look for them, bring a sleeping bag and long underwear!
3)  Day of Week:  Midweek viewing makes it tough for those on a regular work schedule to stay up too late

If you DO head out to see the Geminids, the same rules apply for viewing.  Avoid as many lights as possible, find a safe spot to lay down on a blanket, and look toward the darkest part of the sky.

Good Luck!

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