SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — Utahns will be delighted to an astronomical spectacle next week, when the annual Geminids meteor shower peaks on the night of Wednesday, Dec. 13 into the morning of Thursday, Dec. 14.
NASA said the Geminids meteor shower is one of the best and most reliable meteor showers every year, first appearing in the mid-1800s. During its peak, 120 Geminid meteors can be seen per hour when conditions are just perfect. Each meteoroid streaks quickly across the sky and in a bright greenish-yellow hue
There won’t be a bad place to be to catch the meteor shower, according to NASA. The shower has a nearly 24-hour broad maximum. The Geminids can be seen starting around 7 p.m. locally and the number of meteors will increase as the night goes on. NASA recommends getting out of the city to avoid light pollution and be prepared for cold weather.
“Lie flat on your back with your feet facing south and look up, taking in as much of the sky as possible,” NASA wrote. “After about 30 minutes in the dark, your eyes will adapt and you will begin to see meteors. Be patient – the show will last until dawn, so you have plenty of time to catch a glimpse.”
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ABC4 Meteorologist Thomas Geboy said forecasts are showing it will likely be partly cloudy Wednesday into Thursday for the shower, meaning there should be a chance for Utahns to catch a glimpse.
Unlike most meteor showers, The Geminids, which are viewable every year, didn’t come from a comet, according to NASA. The Geminids instead originated from an asteroid called 3200 Phaethon. The Geminids are bits and pieces that break off to form the meteoroids which disintegrate in Earth’s atmosphere in colorful fiery streaks when Earth passes through the debris trails.