STARGAZERS could be in for a treat as the Geminids meteor shower is set to light up the night sky over the US in the coming days.
The Geminids started on Saturday but is predicted to peak on the evening and dawn of December 13-14 and should be the “best” meteor shower of the year, according to NASA.
The showers are due to end on December 17, according to earthsky.org.
If the conditions are right, such as a dark night, stargazers could see as many as 50 flaming meteors streak across the sky per hour, with the peak at around 2am.
The Geminids are the “strongest meteor shower of the year,” according to NASA’s stargazing blog.
They’re “active … when Earth passes through a massive trail of dusty debris shed by a weird, rocky object named 3200 Phaethon. The dust and grit burn up when they run into Earth’s atmosphere in a flurry of ‘shooting stars,’” according to the agency.
For optimal viewing, Nasa recommends finding the “darkest place you can,” ideally away from city lights and letting your eyes adjust to the darkness for 30 minutes.
“Avoid looking at your cell phone, as it will mess up your night vision,” the agency adds. “Lie flat on your back and look straight up, taking in as much sky as possible. You will soon start to see Geminid meteors.”
Anyone unable to get outside, Nasa will stream the peak of the shower on its “meteor watch” Facebook page.
The meteor shower occurs every year in mid-December without fail so is a staple in the calendar of keen astronomers.
The flying space rocks actually originate from a mysterious and crumbing 19,000ft asteroid called 3200 Phaethon.
As the asteroid passes Earth, debris from it scatters in space.
This then appears as bright flashes each December.
The rock debris burns up in the Earth’s atmosphere at a speed of around 80,000 miles per hour.
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