Best meteor shower of the year starts Wednesday night

Geminids 2017: How to see New Zealand's best meteor shower of the year

The American Meteor Society stated that on the peak night of December 13 and 14 between the hours of 1:00 and 2:00am local standard time (LST), an observer located in mid-northern latitudes under clear skies has the opportunity to view at least 75 Geminid meteors and those living in rural areas can watch more than hundreds of these meteors. It is reported by NASA on their Twitter page. Generally, the Geminids are known to almost 1-2 meteors per minute on dark, moonless nights. What really makes this meteor shower so handsome to witness is its comet-like orbit along with the presence of shooting stars.

"With August's Perseids obscured by bright moonlight, the Geminids will be the best shower this year", said Bill Cooke, of NASA's meteoroid environment office. What turns into an incredible show of the skies, the Geminid Meteor Shower originates from a rocky asteroid called 3200 Phaethon.

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They're not actually stars, of course, but meteors made of dust and grit that light up as they slam into Earth's atmosphere and disintegrate into fiery streaks.

What are the Geminids and where did they get their name?

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While the shower carries on throughout the month of December, it will reach its visual peak between the 13th and 14th of December. But have you ever heard of a rock comet? In the southern hemisphere, you will have a subdued but still attractive show because Gemini doesn't rise very high above the local horizon. Gemini will rise in the east, but shooting stars can be seen in all quadrants of the sky - so most experts advise simply lying flat and looking up. When to see the Geminids Meteor Shower?

Ingram urges would-be meteor watchers to get as far away from city lights as possible. It'll take 20-30 minutes for your eyes to adjust to the dark. Some might be random background meteors, and some might be from weaker, active showers like the Monocerotids, Sigma Hydrids and the Comae Berenicids.

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"If you're in Seattle or Everett or Tacoma, you may see a few, but you have to set aside the time to look", Ingram said. "If you end up in the constellation Gemini, there's a good chance you've seen a Geminid".

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