RICHMOND, Va. – You could see streaks of light across the sky before Dawn Sunday, December 14. Earth is passing through a debris field left behind by an extinct comet (3200 Phaethon), as we do every mid-December in our annual trip around the Sun.
NASA scientists predict during the peak hours before sunrise Sunday that you could see (if you’re away from city lights) as many as 100 – 120 meteors per hour. That equates to about one to two meteors a minute. Granted, you may not see all of those, but this is a fairly reliable meteor shower if you have the patience (and warm layers!) to spend time before Dawn Sunday looking up.
The best window for meteor viewing will be between Midnight and 6AM, but many meteor shower buffs prefer the 2AM witching hour. A tip from the pros this year: the Moonlight will be an issue, drowning out some of the dimmer meteors. Keep your eyes trained away from the Moon, and adjust your position as needed through the wee hours to keep the Moon out of your line of sight.
Here in central Virginia, skies should be partly cloudy at worst, which means we should have decent viewing weather. CLICK HERE for our latest weather forecast and current conditions. If you don’t want to go out in the cold, you can watch a live stream of the meteor shower from a telescope at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Al. here: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/nasa-msfc.
Enjoy the show! If you check out the meteor shower, take a picture and share it with us on our new Storm Pins App.