The Geminid meteor shower is expected to peak this weekend

The annual Geminid meteor shower is expected to put on quite a show this weekend, peaking on the morning of Monday, December 14. It should be one of the best meteor showers to watch in 2020.

On a night with perfect conditions, spectators can expect to witness as many as 100 meteors per hour from the Geminid shower. This is much more than people can expect from the average meteor shower. Outside of perfect conditions, people can still expect to see around 50 meteors per hour.

This week, the Geminid shower should still be putting on a small show, so people don’t have to wait until this weekend to see some meteors falling from the sky. “You should see a decent spattering of meteors on the preceding nights as well. And you might catch a Geminid meteor anytime this week, as the shower builds to its peak,” said Bruce McLure from EarthSky.

The Geminid meteor shower stems from a mysterious object that the Earth passes by every year called 3200 Phaethon. What makes this object mysterious is that astronomers still aren’t sure how to classify it. It could be an asteroid or a burnt-out comet that is orbiting our sun.

The orbital path that Phaethon 3200 follows

If you are interested in observing the Geminid shower this year, the best time to view it is 2 a.m local time. That being said, this particular shower can also be viewed as early as 9 p.m., although it won’t be as spectacular.

Via USA Today

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