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Wed Dec 5, 2018, 02:00 PM

All you need to know: Geminid meteor shower in 2018 (earthsky.org)

By Bruce McClure and Deborah Byrd in Astronomy Essentials | Space | December 5, 2018

It’s time to start planning ahead for the Geminid meteor shower. It’s always reliable! But it might be extra special in 2018. Peak mornings December 13 and 14.

The Geminid meteor shower – always a highlight of the meteor year – will peak around the mornings of December 13 and 14, 2018. The Geminids are a very reliable shower if you watch at the peak time of night (centered on about 2 a.m. for all parts of the globe) and if you watch in a dark sky. The meteors tend to be bold, white and quick! This shower favors Earth’s Northern Hemisphere, but it’s visible from the Southern Hemisphere, too. The curious rock comet called 3200 Phaethon is the parent body of this shower.

On a dark night, near the peak, you can often catch 50 or more meteors per hour.

Why are the Geminids best around 2 a.m.? It’s because that’s when the shower’s radiant point – the point in our sky from which the meteors seem to radiate – is highest in the sky. As a general rule, the higher the constellation Gemini the Twins climbs into your sky, the more Geminid meteors you’re likely to see. The Geminids’ radiant point is highest around 2 a.m.

Special equipment? None needed. Just find a dark, open sky and maybe bring a sleeping bag to keep warm. Plan to sprawl back in a hammock, lawn chair, pile of hay or blanket on the ground.
more (including useful links): https://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/everything-you-need-to-know-geminid-meteor-shower

If you don't really know your way around the constellations, here's a little help, starting from Orion or Ursa Major ( home of the "Big Dipper" ), the two brightest constellations in the sky. Even people unfamiliar with the night sky can usually locate these.

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