Plan To Stay Up Late, The Best Meteor Shower Of The Year Is Tonight


If you need a reason to stay up late, we offer up tonight's meteor shower for your consideration. The Geminid Meteor Shower, regarded as the big mama of all annual meteor showers, will be streaking across the horizon starting around 9 p.m. EST and really showing off around 2 a.m. EST.

Viewers in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres can expect about 120 meteors to fly by per hour, trailing their graceful arcs of light for about 1 to 2 seconds each, according to NASA. What makes this shower so special? These Geminids, which appear to "radiate from the constellation of Gemini," NASA notes, are parts of an asteroid and can penetrate deeper into our atmosphere than other meteor showers. They'll be traveling around 78,000 mph (about 35 km/s) and may appear to gleam in hues of blue, green, and yellow.

The Geminid meteors come from an "object" known as 3200 Phaethon — believed to have been an asteroid, not an extinct comet.
Photo: REX Shutterstock.

If you've got a clear view and no super-early morning meetings, grab a few BFFs and make a night of it. If you're not in an ideal spot, NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL, is hosting a live-tweet chat tonight from 11 p.m. EST until 3 a.m. tomorrow morning. "To join the conversation and ask questions, use #askNASA or @NASA_Marshall," NASA writes.
2015 has been quite a year for stargazing — remember that wonderfully witchy Super Blood Moon eclipse back in September? And have you heard about the rare full moon that will be rising on Christmas Eve, the first in 38 years? The heavens are putting on a show for us — and what a show it is!

OPENER IMAGE: REX Shutterstock.

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