Geminids meteor shower peaking in Kamloops, Okanagan | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Geminids meteor shower peaking in Kamloops, Okanagan

The Geminid meteor shower peaks beginning, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022.
Image Credit: NASA

While the Geminids meteor shower peaks tonight, stargazers in Kamloops and the Okanagan will have a better viewing opportunity if they wait until the weather clears tomorrow night to watch them.

Overnight skies in Kamloops are expected to be partly cloudy tonight, Dec. 13, while the skies over the Okanagan will be mostly cloudy with a 30% chance of flurries. However, Environment Canada is predicting clear skies in Kamloops and the Okanagan tomorrow, Dec. 14.

During peak activity and perfect weather conditions the Geminids produce approximately 100 to 150 meteors per hour for viewing, however this year a waning gibbous moon will make it harder to view, resulting in only 30 to 40 visible meteors per hour for viewers in the Northern Hemisphere, according to NASA blogger Beth Ridgeway

The shower got its name because the meteors look like they are coming from the constellation called Gemini.

A meteor is a small rock fragment that is travelling through space at high speeds. The light can be seen when the fragment burns up from friction with the atmosphere. The meteors usually come from comets, but these Geminid meteors come from an asteroid called 3200 Phaethon that was discovered in 1983.

Every 1.4 years the Phaethon orbits the sun. We have an opportunity to see the meteor showers every year when the Earth is passing through the trail of debris the asteroid leaves in its wake.

The Geminids start around 7 or 8 p.m. today and the shower peaks at 4 a.m. on Dec. 14, with the best rates of meteors occurring around midnight. The shower will continue for the next few nights with the last viewing opportunity on Dec. 17 but the meteors will be much fewer in number.

Meteor watchers are encouraged to bundle up for the cold weather and find an area away from city light pollution. 

To contact a reporter for this story, email Shannon Ainslie or call 250-819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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