100+ shooting stars/hour expected this weekend

Posted at 11:49 AM, Dec 12, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-12 11:49:18-05

It produces 100 or more shooting stars per hour. That's why the Geminid Meteor Shower is known as the best celestial show of the year. And it peaks this weekend!

The Geminid Shower is so named because of its origin in the sky. These shooting stars appear to originate from the constellation Gemini. That is visible in the eastern sky this time of year.

The Geminids peak Sunday night and Monday morning, December 13-14. That's when the Earth passes through the tail of a mysterious space body known as 3200 Phaeton. While most meteor showers during the year are caused by comets, scientists believe 3200 Phaeton is less a comet and more a near-Earth asteroid.

Even though this latest meteor shower peaks early Monday morning, stray shooting stars will be visible two or three night before and after the Geminid peak. That means, any night this weekend and early next week, you could see a few bright streaks of light in the night sky. Of course, viewers are already reporting a few strays.

Unfortunately, clouds will be the general rule in the night sky this weekend. A strong weather system approaching from the southwest will continue to spread clouds into the area through Monday night. But there are always breaks in the overcast for a little while. So pay attention to the sky. You may be surprised by nature's best yearly light show!