LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – The Geminid meteor shower, one of the biggest and most reliable of the year, begins Friday night.
The meteor shower happens late every year as the Earth passes through the debris left behind by a small asteroid called 3200 Phaethon. That makes the Geminids unique since most meteor showers are caused by comets.
The debris from the asteroid burns up as it enters the atmosphere at around 80,000 miles per hour, creating meteors that we can see from the ground. At its peak, the Geminids produce up to 120 meteors per hour. They tend to be bright and fast, and can be yellow in color.
This year, the Geminid meteor shower will take place from Dec. 4th to Dec. 17th, peaking on Dec. 13th and 14th. NASA says this year’s display should be especially impressive because those peak days occur during a New Moon, so the sky will be darker than usual.
You can start seeing meteors around 9:00 or 10:00 p.m., but in the Northern Hemisphere, they will peak most nights around 2 a.m. For best viewing, head out after dark to an area far away from city lights, watch the southern sky, and give your eyes about half an hour to adjust to the dark.