LOOK UP: Geminid meteor shower to light up December sky

Sparta Police Officer captures meteor on dash camera

If you have clear skies, and can get somewhere dark and away from light pollution, then the peak of the Geminids meteor shower is the flawless opportunity to get out and witness one of nature's greatest spectacles.

You will be able to see meteors scorching through the sky tonight, but their peak will come on December 13 and 14. It is reported by NASA on their Twitter page.

The annual Geminid meteor shower is usually an exercise in futility for stargazers in Western Washington, where clear nights in December are about as common as Sasquatch sightings.

The shower will peak at rates around one per minute under good conditions on the night between December 13 and 14, Cooke explained.

The show will compensate for the flop of the Perseid meteor shower in August, when the glare of a full moon snuffed most viewers' attempts to appreciate the event.

NASA estimates up to 120 meteors per hour could be seen streaking across all parts of the sky.

This stunning wonder of nature takes place as our planet travels through the tail of an asteroid called 3200 Phaethon, which is due to brush nail-bitingly close to our planet on December 17. Spectators will see several Geminids in the Southern Hemisphere, where the radiant doesn't rise very high above the horizon.

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Last year, the shower peaked at the same time as the supermoon, which washed out the fainter meteors.

"The thin, waning crescent Moon won't spoil the show", Cooke said.

But the best view will be away from city lights.

East of Seattle, parking lots and pull-offs along Interstate 90 and frontage roads and in communities like North Bend and Snoqualmie can offer reasonably dark skies, Ingram said.

"By morning, (the meteors) will seem to be raining down on you".

"Skywatching is easy. Just get away from bright lights and look up in any direction!"

As all meteor showers, the Geminids are named after the constellation that appear to the eye as the source of the meteor shower. Then, give your eyes some time to adjust to the dark and start scanning the skies.

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