Geminids: Last Meteor Shower of 2013 Peaks This Weekend

Geminid meteors are among the brightest of any of the annual showers, but will the weather cooperate?

The Geminid meteor shower peak dates. (Photo courtesy NASA.)
The Geminid meteor shower peak dates. (Photo courtesy NASA.)

By Todd Richisson

Earthsky.org calls the Geminid meteor shower "one of the finest meteor showers visible in either the Northern or Southern Hemispheres." 

That's a pretty good sell for getting outside and checking out the 2013 Geminid meteor shower peak when it arrives on Dec. 13-14.

But there's good news and bad.

First, the bad: The Geminid shooting stars may be competing with cloudy conditions in Gwinnett County, according to Weather.com. The forecast calls for clouds and rain overnight Friday, with conditions expected to improve as the day goes on Saturday.

The good news: Geminid meteors are among the brightest of any of the annual showers, so you may be able to catch a great show during breaks in the skies above Gwinnett.

NASA reports that the Geminids are a relatively young meteor shower, with the first sightings occurring in the 1830s with rates of about 20 per hour.

Over the decades the rates have increased, regularly spawning between 80 and 120 per hour at its peak on a clear evening.

Earthsky.org says:

"The meteors are plentiful, rivaling the August Perseids, with perhaps 50 to 100 meteors per hour visible at the peak. Plus Geminid meteors are often bright, so, if there’s a bright moon, many meteors may be able to overcome the harsh moonlight. 

"These meteors are often as good in the evening as in the hours between midnight and dawn. In 2013, a bright waxing gibbous moon will interfere with the Geminids throughout most of the peak night. Your best bet is to watch on the mornings of December 13 and 14, from moonset until dawn."


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