It’s time to make a Christmas wish on some shooting stars. The Geminid meteor shower will be taking place for the next two weeks, starting tonight (Dec. 4).
You can start watching the skies this evening, but the shower won’t peak until late night on Wednesday, Dec. 13 and into the early morning hours of Dec. 14.
To find the Geminids in the sky, look for the constellation Gemini. You can find Gemini in the sky by first finding the easily recognizable three star line of Orion’s belt. Above and to the left of that, the bright star Betelgeuse forms Orion’s shoulder, and Gemini is further up and to the left of Betelgeuse.
The Geminids can produce as many as 50 shooting stars per hour, almost one a minute. The best viewing place (as with any astrological event) will be in the country, away from city light pollution.
The great thing about the Geminids, apart from its long length, is the early start time. You’ll begin seeing them in the sky as early as 9 or 10 p.m. local time, no matter where you are.
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The Geminids are named for the constellation Gemini because the shooting stars appear to originate there. However, the Geminid meteor shower actually occurs when the earth passes through the debris left by 3200 Phaethon, which NASA calls a “rock comet.”