Today you can catch some of the best sky watching of the year with the annual Geminids Meteor shower. Hayden Planetarium’s Joe Rao says it’s always one of the best sky shows, but this year’s shower is probably going to be especially good because the moon is at new phase. That means the moonlight won’t steal the stage from these sparkly falling gems.
The peak of the shower is supposed to happen later in the night. (Update: See Spacedex for information on the best times — thanks philis!) At its climax, you’ll see between 60 and 120 meteors falling from the sky. Of course, that’s if you’re somewhere with a wide open sky and not a lot of light pollution. If you’re not, you can watch along online here with NASA meteor experts.
What makes the Geminids so good? Rao explains that they’re slower than other meteors, like the Perseids, which happen every August. He says Geminids look like little mice skittering across the sky. And tonight there’s a chance that we’ll also catch an appearance from an unnamed meteor shower, making the spectacle even more impressive. [Hayden Planetarium, Space.com]