'The king' is coming: Geminids meteor shower peaks next week
The celestial events keep on coming this month.
Next up is the peak of the Gemenids meteor shower Sunday night.
The shower is active from Dec. 4–17, but is at its pinnacle on the night of the 13 and morning of the 14 - when close to 120 bright meteors per hour can be seen!
The Geminids are widely accepted as the best and most reliable meteor shower of the year; some refer to it as the "king" of meteor showers.
The origin of the Geminids is the asteroid 3200 Phaethon. Its orbit carries it around the sun once every 1.4 years, and it comes closer to it that any other asteroid.
Gemini will rise higher and higher in the sky overnight, with the meteros appearing to radiate out from the constellation. Image courtesy Sky & Telescope / Gregg Dindermann
All meteor showers have a radiant — a point in the sky from which they appear to originate. The position of the radiant is what lends each meteor shower its name; thus, the radiant for this shower is located within the constellation Gemini (the Twins.) The official radiant is near its brightest star, Castor.
Gemini rises shortly after sunset and then climbs high in the sky overnight. In North America, it should be just about directly overhead around 1 a.m.
The weather outlook is fair as of now, with some clouds around. You may still be able to catch some good ones Monday night, when skies may be clearer.
The good news is that there will be no light interference from the moon, so if skies are clear by you, you won't want to miss this one!