Here's How to Watch One of 2017's Best Meteor Showers Tonight

Here's How to Watch One of 2017's Best Meteor Showers Tonight

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Tara Bellucci
Dec 13, 2017
(Image credit: Muskoka Stock Photos/Shutterstock)

Tonight, you'll want to turn off the TV, because one of the best shows of the year will be in the sky. The Geminid meteor shower will be happening late Wednesday into early Thursday. Here's how—and when—to watch.

First recorded in 1833, the Geminid shower is one of the best to check out, because the individual meteors are quite bright, and they come at a rate of about 120 an hour. The full show will be visible in the Northern Hemisphere, while the Southern Hemisphere will be able to spot some of the meteors around the horizon line.

As with any stargazing, it's best to find a spot as far away from light pollution as possible, which you can locate with the help of a tool like Dark Site Finder. The best viewing should be around 2 am local time, when the sky is at its darkest.

(Image credit: Sky Guide)

The Geminids appear to radiate from the constellation Gemini, which is above and slightly to the right of Orion's Belt. An app like Sky Guide (above) can help you spot the constellations more easily.

If it happens to be too light polluted, cold, or cloudy to watch outside, you can still get in on the action. According to TIME, the Virtual Telescope Project's livestream of the Geminid meteor shower starts on December 13 at 5 pm ET from telescopes in Arizona and Italy, and will continue until the meteor shower is over.

Most meteor showers are created by passing comets, though this one is debris from 3200 Phaethon, a "rock comet" asteroid. Those with a small telescope will be able to spot the rock around 6 pm ET on December 16, according to National Geographic.

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