Look to the sky late Thursday night and early Friday morning for a spectacular light show that astronomers are predicting will be the “best meteor shower of the year.”
Over 100 blazing meteors are expected to streak through the sky during the annual Gemenid meteor shower, the last shower of 2012.
The Geminids are one of the only major meteor showers that come from an asteroid, instead of a comet. The meteors from the shower are slow-moving and almost always peak on Dec. 13 and 14 of each year.
For those in Qatar, this is the best chance of 2012 to see a meteor shower. Residents missed much of the other beloved annual shower, the Perseids, this year because it took place during the daytime and was obscured by sunlight.
According to the Qatar Astronomy Club, the desert will provide optimal viewing, but heading out there isn’t a requirement:
The new moon occurring on December 13th will provide prime observation conditions, and even those who can’t avoid light pollution may be able to witness the meteors shoot across the sky.
QAC adds the showers should start to be visible tomorrow (Thursday) night around 10pm, but will peak between 1 and 3am on Friday morning.
NASA will chat about the shower and live stream it here.
Science group EarthSky, which has published 10 tips for watching the shower, says no special equipment is needed to watch the show. But it adds:
Just remember. Watching a meteor shower is not like turning on the television. You can’t expect to just look out the window, or simply step outside to see meteors. Your eyes take some 20 minutes to dark-adapt. If you’re serious about it, give yourself at least an hour of viewing time. Even the best meteor showers have lulls and spurts.
Who’s planning to check it out?
Credit: Photo of 2009 Geminid shower by Megan