The Geminids meteor shower, one of the year’s most spectacular celestial events, is currently lighting up our skies and will continue to do so until December 24, with a peak viewing opportunity on December 14, according to a report by NASA.
Best Viewing Spots and Times in the Holy City:
For the best view of the Geminids, you’ll want to find a location away from city lights. Ideal spots might include local parks, beach areas, or just outside the city where light pollution is minimal. Plan to start your stargazing around 9 or 10 pm and give your eyes about 30 minutes to adjust to the dark. In optimal conditions, you may see up to 120 meteors per hour, a significant increase from the Leonids’ 15 meteors per hour.
The Unique Characteristics of the Geminids:
This meteor shower is unusual because it originates from 3200 Phaethon, an asteroid, rather than a comet. First recorded in the mid-1800s, the Geminids have intensified over the years, now offering a dazzling display of bright, fast, and often yellow meteors streaking across the sky at 22 miles per second.
Understanding the Phenomenon:
As you watch, remember that meteors, or shooting stars, are essentially space rocks entering Earth’s atmosphere. They heat up, creating a visible streak of glowing, hot air. The Geminids are particularly known for their stunning display.
Don’t miss this amazing celestial event, a highlight for Charleston’s night sky enthusiasts!