Get ready for some serious shooting star action, because the Geminid meteor shower is about to peak. The most opportune time to see one of the most exciting astronomical events of the year will be at its best late Thursday night and early Friday morning, so get ready to see some amazing sights in the night sky.
The Geminid meteor shower is the result of Earth passing through the debris tail of the asteroid 3200 Paetheon. Normally, meteor showers are produced by comets, but as Wired notes, Paetheon is something quite different.
As Paetheon approaches the sun, the debris heats up and sheds small pieces. Because the Earth is passing through this debris tail, the rocks will burn up while entering our planet’s atmosphere and turn into meteors.
What is the very best time to catch the Geminid meteor shower? GeekSmash reports that the Geminids are best viewed around 2 a.m. EST Friday in the lower eastern sky. That might be too late for some viewers to catch the choices meteors in the sky, but viewing slightly before and slightly after will still allow some pretty spectacular views.
One major bonus of the Geminid meteor shower is that the moon will be almost completely shielded from view during peak hours. This means that it will not be producing an excess of light and viewers will be allowed to take in many more details of the meteor shower than normally possible.
As many as 150 meteors per hour will streak across the night sky as the meteor storm peaks, and if you can't make it out to a desolate location where the stars are clearly visible, this NASA Geminids meteor shower live stream is the next-best thing.
Simply scroll to the end of this article and press "play" in order to watch the Geminids meteor shower live stream on your computer, tablet or smartphone.
NASA provides live streaming video from its Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., via this exclusive feed, which provides an optimal way to experience the glory that is the Geminids meteor shower without leaving the couch.