Clouds Hamper Bitterroot View of Geminid Meteor Shower

The Geminid meteor shower is peaking tonight

Last Wednesday night and Thursday morning were good for viewing the annual Geminid Meteor Shower.

This is because the constellation of Gemini - where the meteors appear to originate from - is quite close to the equator.

But shooting-star enthusiasts in the southern half of the world should still be able to catch a stunning view of the shower.

What causes a meteor shower?

Here, Dr. Debiprosad Duari, Director, M. P. Birla Planetarium, Kolkata, explains meteors and the Geminid meteor shower.

"With August's Perseids obscured by bright moonlight, the Geminids will be the best shower this year", Bill Cooke, with NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office, said in a news release. "The thin, waning crescent moon won't spoil the show".

Wind chill beneath zero Tuesday; snow coming
Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday night: Temperatures will fall rapidly; wind chills will be in the single digits by 10 p.m. Weather officials say several winter weather advisories , including for the Detroit area, won't expire until early Tuesday.

For the Geminids, viewers didn't necessarily have to try and find the radiant constellation in order to see some meteors. Astronomers don't know exactly what the "weird, rocky object" is, other than the Earth passes through its debris trail every December.

The asteroid, a three-mile-wide rock called 3200 Phaethon, will remain a comfortable 6.4 million miles away.

The "shooting stars" phenomenon is observed when the dust burns while travelling through the Earth's atmosphere.

Starting in early evening, the meteors will grow in number, reaching a peak of 100 an hour between midnight and 4 a.m., creating streaks of fire as they fly through the atmosphere at 22 miles per second.

If you're in a place where a dark sky is hard to come by, you can check out NASA's livestream from the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, starting at sunset.

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