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December’s Annual Geminid Meteor Shower Puts on a Show

The comet was first spotted in 1948 by U.S. astronomer Carl Wirtanen of Wisconsin.

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The Geminid meteor shower lights up the sky over the Mexican volcano Popocatepetl near the village of San Nicolas de los Ranchos in Puebla state, early on Dec. 14, 2004. The show for 2018 is peaking overnight on Dec. 13 and 14. VOA

Most years, December offers up a spectacular light show in the skies, known to astronomy enthusiasts as the Geminid meteor shower.

This year, the celestial show is set to peak overnight Thursday and Friday, followed on Sunday by a bonus close-up visit by 46P/Wirtanen, the brightest comet to be seen from Earth this year.

The comet will be visible to the naked eye when it flies by Sunday. According to Sky & Telescope magazine, it will also be among the 10 closest comet approaches to Earth since 1950 and the 20th-closest approach of a comet dating as far back as the ninth century.

Also Read: NASA Photographs Mars InSight Lander From Space

The comet was first spotted in 1948 by U.S. astronomer Carl Wirtanen of Wisconsin.

While the Perseid meteor shower in August is more well-known, astronomers said Geminid puts on a better show with the best display of shooting stars.

Geminid will be visible in both Northern and Southern hemispheres. (VOA)

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Live Broadcast of Meteor Shower to Be Available on NASA Meteor Watch Facebook Page

Across the Northern Hemisphere, sky watchers will be treated to a stunning array of meteors streaking overhead from late Sunday into early Monday

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Meteor Shower, Live, NASA
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share via Email Print this page Comments Science & Health Perseid Meteor Shower to Peak This Week By VOA News August 11, 2019 11:09 PM A photographer sets up his camera hoping to document the universal phenomenon of the Perseid Meteor Shower, in the Valley of Whales, in Fayoum, Egypt, Aug. 12, 2017. (H. Elrasam/VOA) A photographer sets up his camera hoping to document the universal phenomenon of the Perseid Meteor Shower, in the Valley of Whales, in Fayoum, Egypt, Aug. 12, 2017. VOA

The best meteor shower of the year is upon us.

Across the Northern Hemisphere, sky watchers will be treated to a stunning array of meteors streaking overhead from late Sunday into early Monday, as well as Monday night into early Tuesday.

The Perseids occur when Earth enters the debris field left behind by the comet Swift-Tuttle. The Earth entered the debris field in late July, but this weekend will be the peak, with as many as 50 meteors streaking by every hour. The Earth will exit the debris field in late August.

According to NASA, a live broadcast of the meteor shower from a camera in Huntsville, Alabama, will be available on the NASA Meteor Watch Facebook page after 8 p.m. EDT Sunday (0000 UTC Monday).

Meteor Shower, Live, NASA
The best meteor shower of the year is upon us. Pixabay

For best viewing, NASA recommends going away from bright city lights to darker areas.

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The meteors can be seen in all directions, NASA says. And all you need are your eyes; no binoculars or telescopes required. People should give their eyes about 30 minutes to adjust to the dark, NASA adds. (VOA)