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The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

Get Ready for the Geminids!

Get Ready for the Geminids!

If you’re looking for the most spectacular lightshow of the year, there’s no better place to look than straight up this holiday season.

The annual Geminids meteor shower, which begins on December 6 and will reach its stunning peak during the night of December 13 and morning of the 14th, is now considered to be the best of the annual meteor showers, surpassing even the celebrated August Perseids.

The best time to observe the shower will be after the Quarter Moon sets, just past midnight on Dec. 14. Depending on how dark your location is, it should be possible to see as many as 60 to 120 “shooting stars” per hour for the duration of the night. The meteor shower will continue through December 19, but with nowhere near the intensity of this one-night-only performance.

The Geminids take their name from the constellation Gemini. Though meteors can appear anywhere in the sky, they always travel away from the constellation for which they are named, making it appear as though they originate there.

Meteor showers are best viewed with the naked eye. Telescopes and binoculars focus on too small of an area to be able capture the full effect of hundreds of meteors shooting across the sky. For the best effect, find a dark, remote location, away from city lights. Facing east, lie back and allow your eyes to relax, taking in as much of the sky as possible, without focusing on any particular area. Soon you will begin to detect moving streaks of light in your peripheral vision. Enjoy, and keep warm!

9 comments

1 Jaime McLeod { 12.16.10 at 9:40 am }

Victoria, the Geminids will continue through the 19th. Monday night was just the peak, but there will continue to be some activity through this weekend.

The next shower, the Quadrantids, will begin on Dec. 28 and peak on Jan. 4. There are many recurring showers each year. Check your Farmers’ Almanac for a schedule.

2 victoria { 12.16.10 at 9:17 am }

We missed it on Dec 14 , is there another shower coming soon?

3 steve { 12.10.10 at 6:03 pm }

Living in Maine, the temps have been dropping into the single numbers after midnight. inside I go, and enjoy watching the meteor shows from my bed, which offers a full view of the eastern sky through skylights.

4 Jaime McLeod { 12.09.10 at 11:26 am }

Nan,
They’re the same time. Just past midnight on 12/14 happens during the night of 12/13 and early morning of 12/14. You can go out before midnight on the 13th and see some, but your best view will be after midnight that same night, once the Moon sets. Hope that makes sense.

5 Mako63 { 12.09.10 at 1:34 am }

Dress warm – there are dry spells of 2 mn or so with nothing. We bring thermos of Espresso and hoodies and we’re good. This is not the Perseids in august – this is Dec folks. enjoy

6 Robert Miller { 12.09.10 at 1:32 am }

Look up and look east. Last year was phenomenal. at least 100 per hour. straight up. Good luck viewing – Stay Warm

7 Nan Gus { 12.08.10 at 11:32 am }

When is the best time? During the night of 12/13 and morning of 12/14 or just past midnight on 12/14?

8 Sandi Duncan { 12.07.10 at 10:43 am }

You should be able to see these just about anywhere – as long a it’s a clear night and you have an unobstructed view of the night sky. If you read the above, we also recommend you face east. Best times normally for the Geminds are between 1:00 and 3:00 AM. Good luck. Let us know if you get a good view.

9 Mary-Ellen { 12.06.10 at 5:05 pm }

You didn’t say where you could see them (East Coast, South)

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