Geminid meteor shower peaks this weekend

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The meteor shower that typically puts on a good show year after year peaks this weekend.

The Geminid meteors originate from an asteroid as opposed to a comet but produce similar results because the asteroid still leaves a trail of dust on its orbit.

On an average year, this shower produces up to 60 meteors per hour. Under ideal conditions, it can produce up to 150 meteors per hour on the peak night.

This year will be quite different. The December moon, that’s still largely full, will shine bright in the sky 96% illuminated. The moon will block out many faint meteors and astronomers this year predict about 10 to 20 meteors per hour. However, those 10 to 20 meteors could be extra bright and colorful if they are able to be seen through the moonlight.

The other problem for folks in the peninsula of Florida is that clouds and a chance of rain are in the forecast Friday night. While the peak is technically Friday night, Saturday night should offer up a few shooting stars as well.

If you decide to venture out, you can pretty much look anywhere in the sky but it will be best away from the moon. Stare up at a 45-degree angle and give your eyes time to adjust to the darkness.

This meteor shower, like most, will have periods of high activity and low activity so it is best to give yourself an hour or so to catch a few highs and lows of the shower.

Saturday night will be cooler than Friday night so you may need a light jacket. Happy hunting!

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