TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Look to the skies Tuesday evening as the Geminids, arguably the most dependable meteor shower of the year, fills the sky with dozens or even hundreds of meteors per hour.
According to the American Meteor Society, the Geminids are active between Nov. 19 and Dec. 24, of this year, however, the shower doesn’t kick into high gear until about Dec. 10 when hourly meteor rates could reach double digits in the early morning hours.
The society says the highest rates are expected on the night of Dec. 13 and 14, when stargazers can see roughly one meteor per minute during the morning hours from dark sky sites on moonless nights.
Unfortunately for many in the northern hemisphere, those rates will be difficult to achieve this year as the bright waning gibbous moon will block all but the brighter meteors.
But the society says the best strategy may be to look upon the stars between dusk and moon rise on the evening of Dec. 13.
“The advantages of observing at this time of night will be the lack of moonlight, which will allow you to see faint Geminids, which make up the bulk of the meteors seen,” the society said on its website.
Geminids seen during the early evening hours are unable to penetrate deep into the atmosphere, and therefore unable to create longer streaks in the sky. These “Earthgrazers,” as they’re called, are best seen as soon as it becomes dark.
“If you are facing east toward Gemini, these are usually seen low in the northern sky moving right to left or low in the southern sky moving left to right,” the society added.