What Time Is The Geminids Meteor Shower? Here's When To Head Outside This Week
If you haven't already, it's definitely time to pull out your pens and mark your calendars. We've sen a few other spectacular space shows this year (the eclipse, the Leonids Meteor shower, and of course, Beaver Moon), but nothing quite on this level. It's going to be a show to stop the clocks for – or, at least, a good enough show to pull on hat heavy winter coat and get outside to watch. So what time is Geminids 2017 meteor shower?
If you're out during the early morning hours of Dec. 14, it depends what you're looking to see. The Geminids meteor shower is named just like any other meteor shower: for the constellation of stars that seems to come from. In this case, it's Gemini. If you look up in the direction of the Gemini constellation (near Orion's belt), you'll be able to catch the shower.
The Geminids meteor shower is supposed to be nearly the brightest meteor shower of the year. Last year's supermoon blocked the view for anyone looking to catch a glimpse of the shower. But, fortunately for all of us space-watchers, this year, the moon won't be doing as much distraction, since the supermoon sat in the sky a few weeks ago, on Dec. 3. Here are a few things you need to know if you want to catch the sight this week.
So What Time Is It?
I get it, I convinced you to risk the cold and head outside. This meteor shower is going to EPIC. Here's the bad news: The absolute best part of the meteor shower is going to be super late Weds night, or super early Thursday morning, depending how you look at it. The height of shower is going to be taking place around 2 a.m. the morning of Dec. 14, so you're going to need some serious shut-eye the night before, and a plan to stay warm. Stock up on the gloves and hand warmers now.
But, here's the good news: If you're not an early riser, the Geminids meteor shower may actually be your best match, as far as shower-watching goes. The Sky and Telescope website says you'll be able to catch the first few glimpses of the Geminids meteor shower around 9 p.m. on Wednesday Dec. 13, with its peak hitting later in the evening and early Thursday morning. Even the kiddos can stick around for a bit! I can't promise you'll get stellar views, but hopefully, you will get see something. At the very least, you can all spend some winter moments outdoors enjoying the night sky.
Why Is This Shower Significant?
Besides the fact that the Geminids meteor shower is one of the cooler space sights you can see in 2017, there's actually a larger meaning to the Geminids shower. According to Space.com, the shower is actually really, really old — as in, it's been happening for about 200 years. That's two generations of your family that could have born witness to the Geminids meteor shower.
And even more jaw-dropping, astronomers inform that the Geminids meteor shower is actually getting more powerful as time goes on. How does that happen? Well, for as long as the Geminids meteor shower has been going on, Jupiter's gravitational force had been slowly moving the asteroid's particles closer to Earth. The result? Bigger, brighter meteor shower. Talk about the show of the year.
Where Can I Watch?
As with normal meteor showers, you can spot the Geminids meteor shower from your own backyard. If you really want a view to brag about, I suggest heading to open field away from city lights and traffic. The truth is, any excess light will severely impact your view, and it won't be as amazing as you're hoping it will be. For the full experience, make a trip out of it and scope out a great meteor-watching location ahead of time.