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Biggest meteor shower of year due tonight

15 December 2017, 02:20 | Kristen Gross

Biggest meteor shower of year due tonight

Biggest meteor shower of year due tonight

Stargazers are in for quite the treat as the biggest meteor shower of the year will be visible over Irish skies tonight. Thanks to the waning crescent moon, it'll be easier to see the debris fall from space this year.

The show should peak around 2 a.m., though the Gemini constellation is rising in local skies around 7:30 p.m.in the east-northeast, Sabin said.

"If the clouds stay away, those in the countryside may see up to 100 meteors per hour and those in urban areas with considerable light pollution will see fewer". Last year's supermoon cast extra brightness into the night sky, which diluted the visual impact of the Geminids, a particularly showy meteor shower.

The grandest meteor shower of 2017 peaks this week with excellent viewing conditions expected in the Carolinas.

The constellation Gemini - out of which the Geminids appear to radiate - will rise in the Northeast in the early evening, and then by midnight, will be almost directly overhead in the Southwestern sky, before setting in the West around daybreak.

The meteor shower appears annually when Earth passes through the point where its orbital path intersects with a stream of debris cast off from the asteroid 3200 Phaeton.

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What's more, those asteroid bits are denser than typical meteor kindling, which means they move more slowly across the sky as they burn. The greatest number of meteors will be visible between midnight and 4 a.m. on December 14.

The Royal Observatory Greenwich estimated that the meteor shower produced more than 75 shooting stars an hour.

It is named after Gemini, because the shooting stars appear to "radiate" from the constellation's bright stars Castor and Pollux. But you'll be able to see the streaks and fireballs from around then until about early morning, so if you want to set your alarm a little later, enjoy the rest. The best time to view them will be from 10 pm until just before dawn.

British Columbians, it's your view the the Geminids meteor shower! You don't need a telescope, you don't even need binoculars.

NASA will be streaming the shower from its Marshall Space Flight Center beginning at sunset from Huntsville, Alabama.

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