The Geminid Meteor Shower has only been known for about 150 years, but it a reliable sky show each year in December. This year we get the benefit of the peak falling in the middle of a heat wave, at least by relative standards. After reaching the 70s with record high temperatures two days in a row, we also have overnight lows in the 50s. That is warmer than average high temperatures should be and much warmer than the freezing nights we could expect. Since the crescent moon has already set, there is no competition of additional light. So while this metro shower is often missed by many because of the typical cold weather, that is no excuse now. All we need to confirm is the time, location, and any clearing in the sky.
Time And Location:
The Geminid Meteor Shower can have over 100 meteors an hour emanating from the edge of the Gemini constellation. View rates can range from one to three per minute! The bright star on the north side (when rising in the east), called Castor is the place to look. The constellation will follow the celestial plane and appear to pivot by day break with Castor appearing at the top in the morning.
Essentially all you need to know is to look up.
*The peak time will be around 2 AM, almost directly overhead. So grab a blanket and pillow, or lay on a lawn chair and relax.
*You might be able to view some after 9 or 10 PM looking towards the eastern half of the sky, but most likely around midnight through 4 AM, facing the western part of the sky, but still high up in the pre-dawn hours.
Where to go:
You can view some meteors in urban areas, but always best to get away from light pollution. Driving as far as half hour away from cities can help. But regardless of where you end up, make sure you allow your eyes at least 10 to 15 minutes to adjust to the dark. If you are at your home and pop you head out on occasion, you might miss some meteors since your eyes are still accustomed to the lights inside.
Will it be clear?
It’s ironic that we had clouds today limit how warm we actually got, but cleared some in the evening. Here is a rough view from the HRRR Model product for cloud cover. Note that some cloud cover can be thin enough to allow some view from the glow of falling meteors. However clouds are expected to thicken up towards morning.
Also See: Record High Temperature December 13
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