Annual meteor show may get rained out

HOLT, Dec. 13, 2016—The annual December Geminid meteor shower will peak tonight around 2 a.m.

However, nature is conspiring against a viewing here in Holt with scattered thunderstorms and cloudy skies. And even without rain in the forecast, Dec. 14 is the full moon, so lunar light also works against an optimum viewing.

But peak means there’s other chances to view the celestial light show. This particular meteor shower started around the second week of December and lasts for a few days after the peak and scientists say moonlight won’t eliminate all the activity.

The shower has a slow start in early evening hours, but intensifies during late hours of darkness.

The showers are named after the constellation Gemini because they appear to originate from there; however, they scatter across the sky, so being able to locate Gemini is not a requirement.

Every year, the earth passes through the orbital path of asteroid 3200 Phaethon. As the asteroid crosses Mercury’s orbit and nears the sun, the rock cracks and crumbles, scattering debris into Earth’s upper atmosphere causing the flameouts seen as meteorites.

To view
Grab a blanket, lawn chair or stretch out in that favorite hammock, lean back and enjoy the show. It takes about 20 minutes in the dark for eyes to adjust to the darkness, so plan plenty of viewing time.

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