SCIENCE

The peak of the Geminid meteor shower is tonight

Dec 13, 2021, 6:22 PM | Updated: 6:32 pm
The peak of the Geminid meteor shower is expected late Monday night into Tuesday morning.
Photo cre...
The peak of the Geminid meteor shower is expected late Monday night into Tuesday morning. Photo credit: NASA

SALT LAKE CITY — If you have an interest in stargazing, you won’t want to miss out on tonight. The peak of the Geminid meteor shower is expected to hit the northern hemisphere tonight and into early Tuesday morning.

Patrick Wiggins, a NASA Ambassador, told KSL the best viewing time of the Geminid meteor shower is sometime after midnight.

“If you are looking too early, they haven’t even risen,” he said. “So, they are hitting the other side of the earth. After midnight, we are facing the oncoming storm.”

In Utah, however, there are a few obstacles that may prevent stargazers from being able to see the meteor shower.

“There are a few things that are kind of against us,” he said.

The first issue that could be a problem for stargazers is the cloud cover. However, Wiggins says that problem may take care of itself.

According to an astronomer program that predicts clear skies, Wiggins says by late evening most of Utah should have clear skies for most of the night to view the meteor shower.

The second issue facing stargazers this evening will be the brightness of the moon, which there is nothing that can be done about.

“It’s going to be up for most of the night,” Wiggins said. “And that will wipe out many of the fainter meteors.”

The final obstacle for stargazers this evening will be city light pollution.

“The people who live in the city with all the light pollution from the city are going to have a real nasty time seeing anything but the brightest meteors.”

To avoid city lights and for the best possible view, Wiggins recommends that people head to the west desert.

Above all else, Wiggins recommends that people have patience. At a prior meteor shower gathering, Wiggins said he remembers seeing people leave after 10 minutes.

“Just be patient,” he said. “That is really a big thing…. Your chances of seeing something in a 10-minute window really isn’t that great. You really have to put some time into this, at least an hour.”

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The peak of the Geminid meteor shower is tonight