Thursday, December 13, 2012

Something to watch tonight: Meteor shower

We've been talking for days about possible storms and possible outbreaks of polar air.

Today let's talk about something that's certain to happen -- a meteor shower.

It's the Geminid meteor shower, an annual December event, and astronomers say the peak viewing will be tonight. This year's shower could be better than usual.

That's because the moon is in a new phase, which means there won't be any moonlight to distract from the sight of meteors zipping into the Earth's atmosphere.

The meteors are fragments of an asteroid, and astronomers say there could be 50 to 100 per hour at times overnight.

You'll be able to see them from about 9 p.m. until dawn. They'll be soaring across the sky, but they seem to originate from the constellation Gemini the Twins. That is above and a bit to the left of Sirius, one of the brightest lights in the nighttime sky.

At 9 p.m., Gemini will be rather low in the east-northeast sky. By 2 a.m., when the meteor shower will be at its peak, Gemini will be almost overhead.  It should be quite a show.

One warning ... dress for the weather.  Tonight will be the coldest night in Charlotte for about two weeks, with lows in the upper 20s by Friday morning.

You also might want to check out a Web chat sponsored tonight by scientists at NASA's Marshall Space Center. You can find it at


Anonymous said...

Thank you look forward to it...will check it out.