The Last Great Meteor Shower of the Year Arrives Tonight. Here's How to See It.
We're getting into that part of the year where no matter how spectacular a stargazing event is, you probably approach it with a little hesitance. That's understandable. The miserable weather is here, and it's getting worse in many parts of the country.
Nonetheless, if you're feeling bold, one of the most reliable annual meteor showers will be lighting up the night sky this weekend. The Geminid meteor shower will be peaking the night of December 13. Think of it as a spooky good time, because it's landing on Friday the 13th.
As has been typical of meteor showers in 2019, the Geminids won't be the best version of itself. The shower is capable of producing more than 100 meteors per hour. This year, however, you should expect to see between 30-40 per hour, Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office tells Thrillist.
How to watch the Geminid meteor shower?
The meteor shower peaks on December 13, but it's been going for a while. You should be able to see meteors as soon as 9pm local time, but it will be at its best closer to 2am.
Unfortunately, the moon will be just past full, which is the reason you aren't likely to see as many meteors as other years. However, the Geminids are rich in fireballs, which are brighter than standard meteors. That means you'll still be able to get a show despite the interference of the moon.
Even though the moon will be bright, you'll need to head toward dark skies, far from the light pollution of urban centers. The darkness is necessary to see the meteors, though it can take 20 to 30 minutes for your eyes to fully adjust to the dark once you get to your destination. So, it would behoove you to arrive a little early and get situated. (Don't look at your phone. That will ruin your night vision.)
Of course, in addition to darkness, you'll need decent weather. If it's a cloudy night, you're going to be out of luck. Additionally, be sure to avoid areas where tall trees block your view of the sky. You want to be able to see as much of the sky as possible. The more sky you can see, the more likely you are to see all the meteors that are present.