Geminid Meteor Shower promises to put on big show

CLEVELAND (WEWS) - The forecast for Thursday night calls for mainly clear skies. That should be perfect for viewing one of the best meteor showers of the year.

The Geminid Meteor Shower will peak overnight Thursday into early Friday morning across the area. And it promises to put on quite a show.

This cluster of shooting stars is the dust and the small sand-sized pellets of the now extinct Comet 3200 Phaeton.

Once a year in December, our planet travels through this debris cloud. As the specks of dust and rock hit our atmosphere, they create those bright streaks across the sky called shooting stars. Most of the shooting stars originate in or around the constellation Gemini. Hence, the name Geminid.

According to NASA, the Geminid Meteor Shower was first observed back in the 1830s and produced about 20 shooting stars per hour. But, since then, that number has increased. During a good show, an observer can expect to see 80 to 120 per hour.

The activity should peak between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. Friday, but you should be able to look to the night sky for show just about anytime through this week.

The shooting stars will originate in the east and northeast sky. And with no moon out to impair you viewing angle, the streaks of light should be quite bright.

Remember to get as far away from the big city lights as you can. Don't forget to wear the warm clothes since temperatures will drop into the lower 30s by early Friday morning. Enjoy the show.

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