geminid meteor shower

The best meteor shower of the year is set to hit Toronto skies

This hasn't been the best year for meteor showers thanks to some pesky interference from the moon during peak times, but 2017 is set to go out in style as the Geminids rain across the sky in the coming days.

Stargazers could see as over 100 shooting stars an hour when the shower reaches its peak on night of December 13 (i.e. the very early morning hours of December 14). In fact, 2017 could be a banner year for the shower as the source comet — 3200 Phaethon — is nearby.

According to EarthSky, "when a meteor shower’s source is nearby, the rates of meteors you see can increase." There's no guarantee, but the conditions are ripe for very good year. The slender crescent moon that'll rise at around 3 a.m. will not pose much of an impediment to viewing.

In what might be even better news for city dwellers, there's a chance you might be able to catch a few shooting stars without even leaving the city.

"The Geminids tend to be bright," explains EarthSky. "So, on a night around the shower’s peak, you might catch a Geminid meteor, even if your sky is somewhat beset by light pollution."

If you want to catch the full out shower, you'll need to find a place far from the city's lights like a resort in cottage country or a dark sky preserve. You can always use this handy light pollution map to chart your journey.

For the best results, you'll want to look for meteors after midnight on December 14, but if you just can't stand to stay up that late, the radiant point should be high enough by 10 p.m. to yield a decent number for earlier viewings.

To see shooting stars, you really just need to find an open expanse and look up. If you can orient yourself to the east, however, that's ideal as the constellation Gemini is found here.

Good luck — and remember to bundle up!

Lead photo by

Jason Jenkins


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