RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — It’s that time again. The annual worldwide sky-spectacular Geminids meteor shower comes to its peak viewing night Tuesday, Dec. 13.
Originating from the 3200 Phaethon asteroid, the Geminids meteor shower provides a plentiful amount of meteors through late November into mid-December annually, netting around 120 flying space rocks visible per hour under perfect conditions.
8News meteorologists predict clear skies will make for great viewing Tuesday night but expect one unfortunately timed natural phenomenon will interfere will the meteor shower’s full capacity — the moon.
Tuesday’s moon phase is slated to be a Waning Gibbous, with around 80% of the moon’s full integrity illuminating the night sky. This large amount of illumination will cause difficulty for those wishing to see meteors streaking by in our night sky.
“Once the moon gets high in the sky it might be hard to see it,” DiNardo said.
To circumvent the moon’s full light, 8News Meteorologist Matt DiNardo says the best time to view the Geminids meteor shower will be from sunset — around 4:52 p.m. in central Virginia — up until full moonrise — around 9:48 p.m. in central Virginia — away from city lights. This will guarantee the darkest backdrop available to watch the bright Gemenids streak across the sky at a velocity of 22 miles per second on peak night.
“It’s awesome! 120 meteors per hour, it’s just cool!” DiNardo said excitedly.
With the weather in central Virginia expected to be in the lower 50s and through the 40s Tuesday night, DiNardo suggests those wishing to make the trek outdoors to watch the shower bring along a light puff coat, a lawn chair, and a blanket to fully enjoy their experience.