Christmas is coming early for stargazers, and for anyone hoping to wish on a shooting star.
The annual Geminid meteor shower takes over the skies this week, giving you a good reason to put down the phone and head outside for one night.
Considered one of the best meteor showers of the year, the Geminids are active every December, when Earth passes through a massive trail of dusty debris, according to NASA. This dust and grit burn up when they run into Earth’s atmosphere creating plenty of “shooting stars.”
“With August’s Perseids obscured by bright moonlight, the Geminids will be the best shower this year,” said Bill Cooke with NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office. “The thin, waning crescent Moon won’t spoil the show.”
The shower will peak overnight December 13-14 with rates around one per minute under good conditions, NASA states. And in case you’re outside on other nights this week, Geminids can be seen on nights before and after the December 14 peak, although they will appear less frequently.
“Geminid activity is broad,” said Cooke. “Good rates will be seen between 7:30 pm on December 13 and dawn local time the morning of December 14, with the most meteors visible from midnight to 4 am on December 14, when the radiant is highest in the sky.”
According to NASA, the Geminids can be seen with the naked eye under clear, dark skies over most of the world, though the best view is from the Northern Hemisphere. So basically, we’re in luck in Canada.
For those looking to watch the shiny show, be sure to head away from the bright city lights. Once in darkness, give your eyes time to adjust and look up in any direction. Meteors will be all over the sky.
Be safe out there, bundle up, and enjoy the show.