Twin Meteor Showers 2022: Here’s how to see the shooting stars tonight

Skygazers are preparing to see the Geminid meteor shower, which astronomers consider one of the best and most reliable of the approximately 30 annual meteor showers. This year, the Geminids peak late Tuesday evening through early Wednesday morning – although light from a waning gibbous moon is expected to wash out fainter meteors.

“The moon sucks,” said Bill Cooke, senior astronomer for the Meteoroid Environment Office at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. he added.

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Weather permitting, skygazers in the Northern Hemisphere will, according to Dr. Cooke will likely see 30 to 40 meteors an hour during this year’s peak. That’s less than about 150 per hour during the peak, when skies are dark and visibility conditions are optimal.

The Geminids will peak around 5 a.m. Eastern time Wednesday, though meteors should be visible late Tuesday night, according to NASA. To minimize interference from moonlight, you should take a look before moonrise, around 10 p.m. local time, said Anna Gammon-Ross, an astronomer at the Royal Museums Greenwich in London.

Large Meteor Showers, Nov 2022-Dec 2023

Twins

Ursids

Quadrantids

Lyrids

eta aquarids

Southern Delta Aquarids

Perseids

Orionids

Leonids

Twins

Ursids

Moonlight isn’t the only light source that can make meteors difficult to see.

“The city lights just aren’t cooperating with this type of event at all,” said Ed Krupp, director of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. He said light pollution means skygazers today see fewer meteors than their ancestors did. But because the twins are quite bright, he added, “you actually have a chance of spotting a bright twin every now and then even in cities at night” if you watch patiently.

“You just have to be measured by your expectations,” said Dr. croup.

For the best view, find a dark spot away from city lights. Lie on your back with your feet facing south. Positioning yourself so that an object — like a house or tree — blocks direct light from the moon can increase your chances of seeing the meteors, said Dr. cooking

It takes about 30 minutes for your eyes to adjust to the darkness. Keep your phone in your pocket as its light will hinder this adjustment. And no binoculars or telescope are required, as they only limit your view to a small part of the sky at a time.

Meteor showers occur when fast-moving debris left behind by a comet or asteroid impacts Earth’s atmosphere. In the case of the Geminids, Earth is moving through debris from 3200 Phaethon, a space rock discovered in 1983. As the dust and debris from 3200 Phaethon hit the atmosphere at about 78,000 miles per hour, they burn up and superheat the air around them, leaving streaks in the sky.

Gemini is named for the constellation Gemini, which lies in the region of the sky where the meteors appear to originate.

“It’s always enlightening for people to realize that the event they’re seeing, so attractive for a brief moment and so prominent in the night sky, is being produced by the smallest grain of material hitting Earth’s atmosphere at such a speed , that it is heated to incandescence.” Dr. Krupp added that he hopes this perspective “continues to enter people’s imaginations when they think about meteors and meteor showers.”

Write to Aylin Woodward at [email protected]

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