No special equipment needed: You can watch tonight's meteor shower from home

Muriel Hammond
December 15, 2017

The annual meteor shower happens when the earth travels through individual streams of cosmic dust.

One of this year's best meteor shower display, the Geminids, will be on full display tonight through early Thursday morning. "The thin, waning crescent Moon won't spoil the show".

Stay far from city lights and you could see dozens of meteors per hour.

"Not only is it the year's most prolific, with up to 120 meteors per hour visible from rural skies, the moon is essentially out of the picture", Sky & Telescope says.

Not all the meteors you might see belong to the Geminid shower, however. 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.

The constellation Gemini - out of which the Geminids appear to radiate - will rise in the Northeast in the early evening, and then by midnight, will be almost directly overhead in the Southwestern sky, before setting in the West around daybreak.

They are remnants of asteroid 3200 Phaethon, which is believed to have collided with another object to produce the particles that now create the meteor shower.

Meteor Shower

The Thursday livestream is the second in a dual set of broadcasts of the intense meteor shower.

Meteors are streaks of light caused by small pieces of debris left behind by comets or asteroids that heat up the air around them as they pass through the Earth's atmosphere.

The shower will start at approximately 10 pm on 13 December when the Gemini constellation will be noticeable in the north-eastern sky.

For the best conditions, you want to find a safe location away from street lights and other sources of light pollution.

British Columbians, it's your view the the Geminids meteor shower!

If your skies aren't clear or you're not able to head outside for the shower, check out NASA's meteor webcam tonight live starting at sunset.


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