SAN DIEGO — The strongest meteor shower of the year, according to the American Meteor Society, is expected to peak Tuesday night with prime viewing times anticipated around midnight for San Diegans.
The Geminids meteor shower, which is gifted by the cosmos around this time every year, could produce between 100 to 150 meteors per hour for viewing, according to NASA. However, this year’s show could be hindered by the brightness of a 72% full gibbous Moon.
NASA says only 30 to 40 meteors may be visible per hour at the peak in the Northern Hemisphere. The space agency explained that Geminids are very bright so it should still make for a good show. The meteors seem to radiate from Gemini, NASA explained, which is where the shower’s name came from.
Not exactly sure what a meteor is made of? Meteors are fragments and particles that burn up as they enter Earth’s atmosphere at high speed, usually originating from comets, according to NASA.
For San Diegans preparing to stay up Tuesday night for a chance at catching this annual light show, here are some helpful tips provided by NASA that could help observers get a better glimpse:
-Avoid looking at the Gemini constellation because meteors close to the radiant have short trails, which makes them easy to miss.
-When picking a spot to watch the meteor shower, try sitting in the shade of a house or tree to alleviate moonlight interference. Also, find an area away from city and streetlights.
-Dress accordingly for weather conditions. San Diegans should bundle up because Tuesday night’s forecast shows midnight temperatures around 43 degrees.
-Try watching the meteor shower while lying flat on your back with your feet facing south. Be sure to grab a blanket or sleeping bag for comfort.
-Give your eyes time to adjust. According to NASA, it usually takes around 30 minutes for our eyes to fine-tune with the night light. Avoid using cell phones or other bright objects during this time.
Clear skies are expected Tuesday night in San Diego, so bundle up, pack your meteor shower preparation bag and find an ideal viewing spot to enjoy what the Geminids has to offer.