Stargazing: Geminid meteor shower

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The moon will not interfere this week with one of the year's best displays of "shooting stars," the Geminid meteor shower. Hopefully the weather also will cooperate when the shower peaks Thursday night into Friday morning.

This shower, which is one of the most reliable of the year, is second only to the Perseid meteor shower in August. Under good skies, the Geminids normally produce around 40 or 50 shooting stars an hour. Best viewing will be from 10 p.m. through 6 a.m. Observing can take place earlier in the night because Gemini will be well above the horizon by 8:30 p.m. But, as with all meteor showers, the best viewing will occur after midnight.

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. The meteors will appear to come from the east, near the stars of Gemini and Orion, but they can spread out over most of the sky.

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