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Last of the Best: 2017 Geminid Meteor Shower

Posted by abredl at Dec 13, 2017 12:30 PM |

Wednesday, December 13 is going to be one of the best nights to watch the Geminid Meteor Shower. Don't miss your opportunity to see this once a year event.

For all you stargazers out there, the night of Wednesday, Dec. 13 will be one of the best nights for meteor showers in 2017. The Geminid meteor shower will take place starting the evening of Dec. 13 and will carry over into the early morning of Dec. 14. During this time there is the possibility to see upwards of 120 meteors per hour at its peak.

Last year's meteor shower that took place during a full moon. But tomorrow evening offers a far better viewing experience because it falls just before a new moon. This reduces the amount of natural light pollution and allows the naked eye to make out meteors more visibly. With good weather in sight, most of Washington should be able to catch a glimpse of the shower through cloud breaks in the night sky, with the best views on west of the Cascades.

If you go, don't forget to file a trip report when you are back!

Ruby Beach, Olympic National Park.jpg
Photo from the Perseids meteor shower on August 12, 2016 Photo by Andrea Sassenrat  

TIPS FOR VIEWING THE Geminid MeteOr Shower 

Picking a location:

  • Get away from the city lights to avoid artificial light pollution.
  • Find an open area away from large trees and buildings. 
  • Go somewhere you feel comfortable navigating in the dark. Let someone know your itinerary. Tell your contact where you're going, how long you plan to be gone, and a return time.
  • Check the weather conditions for best viewing possibilities. 

A great viewing experience

  • Wear warm clothes and bring a blanket—waiting is to be expected. A hot thermos of cocoa or tea isn't a bad idea, either. 
  • Locate the constellations Gemini—as it rises higher in the sky more meteors should be visible.
  • Look straight up for the widest viewing range. 
  • Bring a headlamp or a flashlight for each person in your group.
  • Save your eyes (and your companions) from light blindness by using the red setting on your headlamp or flashlight. Don't have a red light? Just tape some red saran wrap over the light.

Further reading

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