HomeOutdoorsNews75 Meteors Per Hour To Shoot Across the Night Sky This Week in the ‘Shower of the Year’

75 Meteors Per Hour To Shoot Across the Night Sky This Week in the ‘Shower of the Year’

by Shelby Scott
(Photo credit Costfoto/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

As Earth dwellers, we’re treated to multiple stunning meteor showers per year. However, this week, stargazers are getting an extra special treat. The Geminids meteor shower, commonly known as the “show of the year,” is set to peak this week. Experts expect that 75 meteors per hour will streak across the night sky between the 13th and 14th.

Out There Colorado notes the Geminids shower is called one of the best and most reliable of the year. The outlet reports the meteor shower began earlier this month, typically spanning the dates of December 4th through the 17th. However, experts state that primetime viewing occurs later this week. Interestingly, while 75 meteors per hour seem like a lot, this is less than stargazers normally see this time of year.

Per the news outlet, the Geminids often see 100 or more meteors shooting across the night sky during its peak evenings. However, unfortunately, a waning gibbous moon will decrease visibility. This means the light from Earth’s only natural satellite will blot out the light streaks created by the Geminids.

How Do the Geminids Get Their Name?

Like the majority of meteor showers that we see year-round, the Geminids get their name from their local constellation Gemini, meaning The Twins. The outlet states the Geminids meteor shower typically consists of bright and colorful meteors. These form from debris created by a much larger space rock, an asteroid, known as 3200 Phaethon. The Guardian reports meteors during the Geminids streak from all points across the sky, originating from a region near their constellation.

NASA states Geminids travel at speeds of 78,000 miles per hour, “over 40 times faster than a speeding bullet.” They tend to burn up at an altitude above Earth ranging between 45 and 55 miles, and it’s highly unlikely that these space rocks ever reach the planet’s surface.

Meteor Caught On Multiple Doorbell Cameras in Eastern U.S., Canada

As stated, the Geminids shower peaks in mid-December. However, residents along the United States’ east coast and in various regions of Canada received a sneak peek of the celestial event earlier this month. A massive meteor made appearances on multiple doorbell cameras streaking across the night sky during the first week of December.

Photos and videos show the same bright meteor, with reports coming from states as far south as Tennessee and the Carolinas. Other came from as far north as Pennsylvania and Ohio.

By the following morning, the American Meteor Society had received more than 700 reports of the sighting ranging the East Coast. NASA labeled the extraordinary space rock a “fireball.” Per the space agency, fireballs like these are just “exceptionally bright meteors.” Fireballs are typically viewed from across a “vast” area.