This meteor shower could produce thousands of shooting stars. How to watch it in NC

An upcoming meteor shower could produce hundreds of shooting stars every couple of hours — but you’ll have to stay up late to see it in North Carolina.

The Geminid meteor shower is expected to peak during the mornings of Dec. 13 and 14, around 2 a.m., according to EarthSky.org.

The shower could produce up to 50 meteors per hour, but “during an optimum night for the Geminids, it’s possible to see 120 meteors — or more — per hour,” EarthSky.org says.

Meteor showers often occur when Earth passes through debris left behind by a comet or asteroid, which is why they generally appear around the same time each year.

Here’s where the Geminid meteor shower comes from and how to watch the display in Charlotte.

Where do the Geminid meteors come from?

Geminid meteors come from 3200 Phaethon, an asteroid named after the character of Greek myth who drove the Sun-god Helios’ chariot discovered in 1983, according to NASA.

The rock-sized pieces break off from the asteroid, and they appear in mid-December each year.

Unlike meteors that come from comets, Geminids do not leave trails, but they are bright enough to see in ideal conditions.

How to watch the meteor shower in North Carolina

Bill Cooke, the lead for the Meteoroid Environment Office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama offered the following tips for watching meteor showers:

  • Get away from bright lights.

  • Give your eyes 30-45 minutes to adjust to the night sky.

  • Avoid looking at your phone, since the bright screen can hinder efforts to adjust your night vision.

  • Lie flat on your back so you can take in as much of the sky as you can.

  • Locate the radiant or the point in the sky where the meteors originate.