If you’re up for staying up late tonight, National Geographic reports that you can see one of the most spectactular meteor showers of the year: the Geminid shower. It’s best seen in the Northern Hemisphere.
“The quarter moon will obscure the first part of the show, but once it sets after midnight [your local time], the conditions should be ideal,” said Geza Gyuk, an astronomer at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, Illinois.
“If you can’t stay up that late, then after 10 p.m. is okay too, but the later the better.”
The missed sleep may be worth it: The Geminids have been rising in intensity and brightness, and the upcoming show may outshine the more famous August Persieds as the best meteor shower of 2010.
“The Geminids have been slowly getting better over the past years, making it one of the best showers,” Gyuk said. “And it has become very reliable, so we can expect a fairly nice show.” . .
Skygazers can expect as many as 140 shooting stars during the Geminid shower, starting around 9pm EST. Peak hours are from 10pm until 5am Eastern time, and Geminids are expected to be most frequent in the two hours around 1:10 am EST. Viewers can expect “beautiful, long arcs” of light across the night sky lasting a few seconds. Those in areas without significant amounts of light pollution can expect a peak of 60 meteors an hour.
Part of last year’s Geminid shower