Tuesday, December 13th and Wednesday, December 14th, 2016, are the best days for the annual Geminid Meteor Shower viewing, according to astronomers. However, as opposed to the Perseid Meteor Shower in August, the experts say that this year, celestial events enthusiasts won’t be able to view the Geminids under optimal conditions.
The final supermoon of 2016 will be visible on Tuesday. However, this is exactly what prevents the people looking forward to the meteor shower from properly viewing the event. The main cause is that the unusual brightness given out by the supermoon will lighten up the skies, making it harder for individuals to observe the Geminid Meteor Show. Nevertheless, even though not as impressive as it would have been under different conditions, the falling meteors will still put on an extraordinary show in clear skies.
According to Space.com, the moon will turn full at 7:05 p.m. ET on December 13th. As their report states, the Observer’s handbook of the Royal Astronomical Society believes that the Geminid Meteor Shower peaks at the same time the moon turns full. Given the fact that the supermoon is brighter than a usual full moon, it will obscure the meteor shower for the best part. However, the brightest falling space rocks will still be visible. Also, the astronomers estimate that the event will last about ten hours.
In clear skies and under perfect conditions, the Geminid Meteor Shower makes for a great event to witness as the people looking up to the sky can see about 120 meteors falling to Earth per hour. However, because two major celestial events overlap this year, the meteor shower is going to be far less visible than before. Nevertheless, given the fact that the meteors move around 22 miles per second, observers will still be able to see the biggest rocks traveling through Earth’s atmosphere. However, when compared to the Leonid or Perseid meteor shower, the space rocks only travel at half the speeds and are also dimmer.
In order for the observers to be able to benefit from the best viewing, NASA suggests that people waiting towards the event should look up to the sky during the pre-dawn hours on Wednesday, December 14th. Also, the individuals witnessing the event should move as far away from the city’s lights as possible for the best experience.
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