DES MOINES, Iowa — Mark your calendars because the Geminids Meteor Shower is coming up, and is going to peak during the late evening of Dec. 13 into the early morning around on Dec. 14.
The Geminids are considered the “best and most reliable annual meteor showers,” according to NASA and anyone who is wanting to watch this year should expect a great display.
Because of the brightness of the moon, the best time to watch is on Dec. 14 before dawn which is anytime after 3 a.m. until sunrise. Anyone can watch in their own backyard or in an empty field somewhere away from city lights.
This meteor shower is one of the most active and dependable displays, while the shower peaks for around a day, it is still active until about December 17.
To view all you need to do is look up at the night sky, make sure you are dressed warm, and that there is not too much light from other houses or buildings around you. According to the Director of Innovative STEM teaching, Jolie Pelds you don’t need any special equipment to view.
“As far as meteor showers go, this will pretty much be the last one of the year. There are some of the spring there’s another one that happens in August but this will kind of be the grand finale of the calendar year as far as things happening in the night sky. And this is really exciting because this comet actually every time it comes the meteor shower gets brighter and brighter and brighter. So next year, you can already plan to be looking at this in December and expect an even greater show than you will see this year,” Pelds said.
And a local Professor of Astronomy, Dr. Charles Nelson explains the Geminids is associated with an asteroid called 3200 Phaethon.
About 120 Geminids meteors can be seen per hour under perfect conditions. they are bright and fast meteors and tend to be yellow in color according to NASA.
“And the analogy there is Imagine you’re driving your car in a snowstorm right? And it looks like all the snowflakes are streaming away from the window right? The same things going on with the meteor shower as the Earth plows through the debris field. They all rain in and it looks like, like they’re all coming from a single point on the sky. And at that point in the sky is in the constellation of Gemini, very near the star caster and so that’s why it’s called the Geminids,” said Nelson.