The “Geminids” meteor shower, one of the biggest meteor showers of the year, will peak Wednesday night and into Thursday morning, but will the weather cooperate?
The Geminids meteor shower is different from most in that it’s produced by an asteroid rather than a comet, NBC 5 meteorologist Kevin Jeans said. This leads to slightly brighter meteorites that do not form trails like those derived from comet debris.
According to expertsSky watchers can handle up to 120 meteors or shooting stars per hour as part of the shower.
Those in the Chicago area could see showers early Thursday, with the best viewing time between midnight and 6 a.m.
While overnight periods offer the best chance of seeing the meteor shower, some Geminids can be seen before midnight on those dates.
Meteors emerge from the “Gemini” constellation in the western sky after midnight.
Will the weather allow for optimal viewing?
According to the NBC 5 storm team, conditions should be mostly clear overnight, though a few stray clouds could affect viewing at times.
We’re two days removed from a new moon, and there should be plenty of dark, clear skies to see the meteor shower.
Best Ways to Watch Meteor Showers
Jeans says visitors should try to get away from city lights and give your eyes at least 30 minutes to adjust to the darkness. That means you might be out all night for a while — dress warmly and bring blankets.
Jeans also recommends using your peripheral vision to spot objects in the sky.
“To get the best view of the Geminids, find a spot far east from the light,” Planetarium said.
And the upcoming meteor shower
The Geminids shower will be followed by the Ursits meteor shower on the morning of Friday, December 22nd and Saturday, December 23rd.
The shower will attract only five to 10 meteors per hour, complicating any possible sightings of a nearly full moon shower.
Quadrantids showers are expected to move toward the Chicago area later in January, peaking on Thursday, January 4. This shower can reach between 40 and 100 meteors per hour, and will appear near the Big Dipper. Early morning northeast sky.
Keep in mind that these meteors are still visible outside of their peak dates, as meteors often last weeks around their peaks.