Geminid meteor shower best viewing may be tonight

The most intense meteor shower of the year is happening now, and the best viewing is expected to be Friday or Saturday morning.

Peak takes place Friday night, but moon sets earlier Friday morning

A meteor streaks across the sky near Lafayette, Ind., during last year's annual Geminid meteor shower. This year's meteor shower will peak Friday night. (The Associated Press)

The annual Geminid meteor shower — the most intense of the year — will peak Friday night.

The best viewing may be early Saturday, once the moon sets, the Associated Press reports. Between 100 and 120 meteors are expected every hour at peak time. But scientists say the bright moon will interfere and reduce the number of visible meteors by half. That's why the best shot for viewing may be closer to dawn on Saturday.

However, EarthSky, a website focused on astronomy news, says viewing may be best tonight. The the moon will set earlier then, it noted, giving meteor watchers "more dark time before dawn." 

The Geminids come from a small asteroid named 3200 Phaethon, which passes quite close to the sun. Its trail of dust and debris is what makes up the Geminids. Earth passes through this stream of debris every December.

The meteor shower extends from Thursday through Monday.

With a file from EarthSky

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