Geminid Meteor Shower should be brilliant Thursday night, Friday morning
Shooting stars are expected to be plentiful
Last Updated: 359 days ago
INDIANAPOLIS - The forecast for tonight calls for mainly clear skies, which should provide perfect viewing for one of the best meteor showers of the year.
The Geminid Meteor Shower will peak overnight Thursday into early Friday morning across the area, and it promises to put on quite a show.
The cluster of shooting stars is the dust and the small sand-sized pellets of the now extinct Comet 3200 Phaeton.
Once a year in December, Earth travels through this debris cloud. As the specks of dust and rock hit our atmosphere, they create bright streaks across the sky called shooting stars.
Most of the shooting stars originate in or around the constellation Gemini, hencee the name Geminid.
NASA said the Geminid Meteor Shower was first observed back in the 1830s and produced about 20 shooting stars per hour. But, since then, that number has increased. During a good show, an observer can expect to see 80 to 120 per hour.
The activity should peak between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. Friday, but shooting stars will be visible just about any time this week.
The shooting stars will originate in the east and northeast sky, and with no moon to impair the viewing angle, the streaks of light should be quite bright.
For best viewing, remember to get as far away from big city lights as possible. Don't forget to wear warm clothes, because temperatures will be in the 30s early Friday morning.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.