The Geminid Meteor Shower Will Light up the Sky This Month

The annual Geminid meteor shower in northern Italy

Earth, at roughly the same point every year, passes through clusters of rocky particles emanating from various comet-asteroid hybrids.

To find the Geminids in the sky, look for the constellation Gemini. This year should offer a wonderful meteor show. Although many people concentrate on the constellation Gemini, you should watch all parts of the sky for Geminids meteors. We may still see some of these meteors on neighboring nights, in addition to viewing several handsome pairings of the crescent moon with the planets Jupiter and Mars.

We are in luck this year with only the light from a slender, waning crescent moon to contend with.

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The other reason why this year is astronomically favorable for the U.S.to see the Geminids is the exact timing of Earth's encounter with the central section of the meteoroid swarm. The 2017 Geminids meteor shower will soon be heres - no telescope or binoculars required. This year, it will peak around 2 a.m. on the night of December 13 and morning of December 14. If you live in the United Kingdom, with its unending proclivity for leaden skies, you may not be so lucky but don't despair; you may still get a chance to see some ethereal pairings of the crescent moon with the planets Jupiter and Mars instead. In addition to magnificent glowing bright white meteors, Geminids have been known to produce yellow, blue, red and even green meteors. Observers need to go to areas with little light pollution.

The stars - or at least the Moon - will align this month for a terrific display of meteors.

In the early evening, about 5:30 to 7 p.m., the radiant in Gemini is still low, so not that many meteors will be visible. Then participants will head out to sit a spell and watch the sky. But at the same time the next day the moon is dramatically close to the upper right of bright Jupiter.