Stargazing: Geminid meteor shower

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The Geminid meteor shower, one of the year's best displays of "shooting stars," will peak Thursday night into Friday morning. Under good skies, the Geminids normally offer some 50 "shooting stars" an hour. Unfortunately, the shower will be somewhat diminished by the light of the waxing gibbous moon.

Because the meteors are bright and numerous, you can still view the shower Thursday evening. The Geminid meteor shower is expected to produce more visible meteor activity than the other major showers that don't have an interfering moon. For the best show, however, stargazers should observe the shower in the darkest sky possible after the moon sets at 4 a.m. Friday morning.

To enjoy the Geminid meteor shower, observe from a location that is as dark as possible and allows you to see a large portion of the sky. Don't use your telescope or binoculars. The meteors will appear to come from the stars near the constellations of Gemini and Orion, but they can spread out over most of the sky.

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