The Geminids are active every December, when Earth passes through a massive trail of dusty debris shed by a weird, rocky object named 3200 Phaethon.
Make this year more memorable, get ready to encounter the picturesque meteor shower tonight. Last year, a super moon greatly interfered with the viewing of this event because the moonlight was so bright it overshadowed any meteors. The Geminid Meteor Shower will be at its most visible and brightest this evening, and if you've got a clear sky, some warm gear, and a little time, you can see some pretty fantastic fireballs and lights.
While you won't need any special equipment to see the meteor shower, you will need to give your eyes time to adjust to the dark (about 20 minutes) and certainly wear warm clothing. Phaethon's flyby this year is the closest it has come to Earth since its discovery in 1983, giving scientists a chance for an up-close view.
Emanating from the bright constellation of Gemini, the shower is close near the three easily spotted stars that comprise Orion's belt. Those that streak through the atmosphere are called meteors, and if they reach the ground (which won't happen with the Geminids, as the particles are too small to survive the trip) the rocks are called meteorites.
The shower will start at approximately 10 pm on 13 December when the Gemini constellation will be noticeable in the north-eastern sky.
The shower will hit its peak at 2:00 a.m. on Thursday morning and you might see around 120 shooting stars that hour. This means that the meteors will be easier to view, since they spend longer dashing through the night sky.
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