2 sets of meteor showers visible in NJ to end the year
The last two meteor showers of the year will be occurring over the next couple of weeks. Both the Geminids and Ursids will be visible in the night sky in December.
The first, and more famous of the showers, the Geminids, will be at their peak on the morning of Tuesday the 14.
Unfortunately, coming just before the new moon, this year’s show is expected to be less than spectacular, but still worthwhile for skywatchers with anywhere from 50-150 meteors an hour during the peak. According to Space.com, the moon will overpower a lot of those meteors, however, blunting their brightness.
The Geminids appear to emanate from the constellation Gemini (the Twins) in the Southwestern sky, but the meteors will streak across all parts of the sky. While most meteors come from comets, the Geminids actually come from an asteroid (3200 Phatheon); Jupiter’s gravity is helping to make the display stronger each year.
The final meteor shower of 2021 will be the Ursids, which should reach peak visibility on Dec. 21-22. It is not as active as the Geminids; expect only 5-10 shooting stars per hour. The moon will be full on the 18, so it will still be plenty bright, making the meteors harder to see.
As always, you are advised to seek a viewing spot far away from city lights for the best show.
Looking ahead, the first meteor shower of 2022 will be the Quadrantids, peaking around Jan. 2-4. While the meteors during this display don’t have spectacularly long tails, they can produce bright fireballs.
Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Doyle only.
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