Geminid Meteor Shower: How to Watch Its Peak in Night Skies

The best time to view the Geminids is on Monday night into Tuesday morning.

The winter Geminids are one of the most anticipated of the year because they produce a lot of fireballs that shoot across the sky.

The Geminids were created from an asteroid that travels around the sun every 1.4 years. The tiny rocks slam into our atmosphere, creating trails of light. The name of the shower is due to the fact that the meteors all appear to streak from a spot in the sky called a radiant. There are showers that originate from comets.

While you can see them tonight, you won't get a chance to see an unusual spectacle in December 2020.

The former chief technology officer of Microsoft, who is also a photographer, researcher on asteroids and a cookbook author, traveled near Pinto Canyon in the Big Bend region of Texas during a particularly impressive Geminid shower when the moon was new and therefore caused little interference.

Dr. Myhrvold used a custom array of four cameras to take a large portion of the sky at the same time last year. He noticed that there were several different meteors in his pictures, not just from the constellation Gemini.

Dr. Myhrvold had a special camera array and he was able to capture the stars from six different showers at the same time.

The showers in the picture were small, so they only produced a few faint meteors. Dr. Myhrvold was able to see some of the streaks from the Leonis Minorids.

Dr. Myhrvold said he was expecting a picture where all the lines came from the same source. There were a lot of them from the Geminids.

It is very rare for viewers to see a similar occurrence this year. You can still enjoy the show.

There was a meteor in the night sky.

The peak of the Geminids is between December 13 and December 14.

The bright moon will make it difficult to see the Geminids this year, with perhaps one per minute in dark sky conditions.

The best time to view the shower is between the hours of 2 and 6 am on Tuesday.

To see the most impressive display, Dr. Cooke advised getting to a dark location away from city lights.

He said to go somewhere else if you are in the middle of downtown Manhattan.

If you want to see as much of the sky as possible, you need to lie flat on the ground for at least 30 to 45 minutes. Don't look at your cellphone, says Dr. Cooke. You will ruin your vision.

The constellation Gemini has a lot of meteors that will be visible all over the sky. The meteors pass too quickly to be captured with telescopes or binoculars.

It's December and it's best to bring a thermos of something warm to drink. Meteor observing takes time. Mother Nature does not like comfort.

The shower will continue if you miss the peak tonight. There is a good chance to catch the Geminids early Wednesday.

Cellphone cameras are not sensitive enough to record the streaks that last a few seconds.

If you have a digital camera, you can try your hand at taking pictures. Dr. Myhrvold suggests setting a long exposure of 10 seconds for the camera on a tripod with a wide-angle lens. Stay warm and enjoy the show with your own eyes.