Geminid meteor shower peaks tonight

Updated: Dec. 13, 2017 at 2:27 PM CST
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The annual Geminid meteor shower reaches it's peak tonight across the ArkLaTex and it is typically one of the best shooting star displays of the year.

The meteors are believed to be created as the Earth passes through a trail of debris left behind by the asteroid 3200 Phaethon. The asteroid debris enters Earth's atmosphere at high speeds creating streaks of bright light as the small pieces burn up. The Geminids are one of the only meteor showers not generated by comet debris. This year's display could be a bit more prolific than usual because Phaethon will be at it's closest distance to the earth since it was discovered in 1983.

Meteors will be possible all night, starting after 9:00pm. 1-2 meteors per minute are possible at times, especially an hour or two after midnight. The meteors will appear to emanate from the constellation Gemini (hence the name).

The meteor shower is best viewed away from city lights which will obscure all but the brightest meteors. To view the shower just lie back and look up in the sky toward the east after dusk. As the night wears on the meteors will appear more directly overhead. It's a good idea to give your eyes about 20 minutes to adjust to the night sky for best viewing.

Viewing conditions should be ideal tonight with mainly clear skies expected. It is going to be chilly though with temperatures quickly falling into the 40s after 7pm.

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