Late Sunday night is the peak of the year’s most prolific annual cosmic fireworks show—the Geminid meteor shower (Geminids picture).
The meteor shower has been growing in intensity in recent decades and should be an even better holiday treat than usual this year, since it’s falling in a nearly moonless week.
Coming fast on the heels of its more famous cousin the Leonid meteor shower—which peaked less than a month ago—the Geminid show should feature as many as 140 shooting stars per hour between Sunday evening and Monday morning.
The Geminids are slow meteors that create beautiful long arcs across the sky—many lasting a second or two.
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One of the best annual meteor showers will peak in the pre-dawn hours Tuesday, and for some skywatchers the show could be quite impressive.
The best seats are in Asia, but North American observers should be treated to an above average performance of the Leonid meteor shower, weather permitting. The trick for all observers is to head outside in the wee hours of the morning – between 1 a.m. and dawn – regardless where you live.
The Leonids put on a solid show every year, if skies are clear and moonlight does not interfere. This year the moon is near its new phase, and not a factor. For anyone in the Northern Hemisphere with dark skies, away from urban and suburban lighting, the show should be worth getting up early to see.
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