This Week Illinois Gets A Meteor Show Wednesday And Thursday
For once, it appears as though all the conditions are going to be right in the skies over Illinois for all of us to get a look at what is often called the best, brightest, and most satisfying of all the the annual meteor showers: The Geminid Meteor Showers.
We've had high hopes of seeing other meteor showers this year, but the moon and the clouds (especially the clouds) have really put a damper on the other meteor showers leading up to the Geminids.
The Geminid Meteor Showers got rolling in our part of the solar system mid-November, and they'll be all wrapped up by Christmas Eve, but over the next few nights, you should be able to get several viewings of a really cool sky show.
The Geminids Are Capable Of Producing 150 Or More Meteors Per Hour, And As An Added Bonus, The Meteors Are Often Bright And Colorful
I know you haven't had a lot of time to plan for this, especially if you're someone who really doesn't pay attention to the schedules of visiting meteor showers (like most people).
The astronomical community seems to be almost giddy at our prospects of seeing an incredible meteor shower show this year, since last year was a cloudy, overly moonlit disappointment.
The zenithal hourly rate for this shower is 120. But you probably won’t see that many. On a dark night, near the peak of the shower around 2 a.m. (for all time zones), you can often catch 50 or more meteors per hour. During an optimum night for the Geminids, it’s possible to see 120 meteors – or more – per hour. So with dark skies in 2023, you might be treated to a great show.
You Should Be Able To See Some Meteors Now Through The End Of December
After all, the peak of the Geminids is on December 13th going into the 14th, but that's not the entire show, it's just the peak. The Geminids are around until Christmas Eve, and then the Ursid Meteor Showers takes over.
Best of all, you won't need any special equipment to see the Geminids, other than some warm clothing because the forecast says it's going to be cold while you're out looking up. Just give yourself an hour or more to take in the views. That way, your eyes will be fully adjusted to the dark conditions.
All you need to watch a meteor shower is your eyes, patience, and a mostly cloud-free night. Go out, get comfortable, and stare at the sky. Typically the best time to see a meteor shower is between midnight and pre-dawn, because that's when you are on the leading side of the Earth, watching the comet debris come at you like rain hitting a car windshield.
Here's some cool footage a guy grabbed up in Norway in 2021:
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