ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - The Geminid meteor shower peaks on Thursday night into Friday morning—2 a.m. to 3 a.m. is peak time—and Alaska is well-positioned to see the streaking lights, if weather permits.
The picture above shows the cloud forecast for Alaska at 2:30 a.m. Friday. The best chances appear to be in Southwest and the eastern Interior. That’s not to say there won’t be clearing at other parts of the state at other times. This map covers the broad areas but there will likely be isolated areas of clear skies, so get away from light pollution, let your eyes adjust to the darkness and look up!
The Geminid meteor shower will reach its peak Thursday night into Friday morning, Dec. 13-14. The Geminids are some of the most regular and visible meteor showers. During the peak of the showers, there is the chance to see up to 120 meteors per hour. The peak viewing time is 2 to 3 a.m. local time.
The Geminids are named that because the meteors appear to radiate from the constellation Gemini, just above the stars Castor and Pollux, which make up the heads of the "twins." It is not necessary to look toward the Gemini constellation. The meteors will appear all over the sky.
All of Alaska has an excellent opportunity to view the Geminids—weather permitting. The best way to see the meteor shower is to get away from city lights and allow time for your eyes to completely adjust to the darkness. Meteor watchers recommend 15-20 minutes. Dress for the weather if you’re going meteor watching.
The Geminids are created by Earth moving through the particles left behind by the asteroid 3200 Phaethon. The Geminids are the only meteor shower created by an asteroid and not a comet.