Geminid meteor shower might be visible here

Sparta Police Officer captures meteor on dash camera

Planet Earth is about to pass through one of the most spectacular meteor showers of the year this week - but it's one that will likely go unnoticed by most of us.

Gemini constellation will be nearly overhead and the number of meteors can reach up to 120 per hour.

"The shower stays active for pretty much the entire month of December in some form or another, but the real peak activity is on that night of the 13th to the morning of the 14th", Chester said. This year, with the moon nearly absent around the time of the shower, they are expected to look magical. You will be able to see at least one meteor per minute, or 60 meteors per hour.

The annual Geminid meteor shower is usually an exercise in futility for stargazers in Western Washington, where clear nights in December are about as common as Sasquatch sightings.

"The Geminids offer slow, brighter than average meteors with some having hints of color, reds and yellows", said Eric Vandernoot, astronomy and physics lab coordinator at Florida Atlantic University.

Sgt. Frank Schomp of the Sparta Police Department saw a meteor streaking across the sky on December 2 and hit record on his dashcam.

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Not all the meteorites you might see belong to the Geminid shower, however.

NASA will livestream the Geminid shower beginning at 9 p.m. on December 13, from the Automated Lunar and Meteor Observatory at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

Where do the Geminids meteors come from? They are produced when Earth plows through a cloud of debris from an oddball object named 3200 Phaethon, which some astronomers describe as a cross between an asteroid and a comet.

There were no recorded Geminids before the mid-1800's. "It's either a near-Earth asteroid or an unknown comet, sometimes called a rock comet".

But the best view will be away from city lights.

In the D.C. metro area, begin to look for the show before about 10 p.m. when the brightest stars in the Gemini constellation will rise above the horizon.

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