2021 Geminid meteor shower will peak tonight: Best chance to see it

Annual meteor shower battles moon tonight

A meteor from a meteor shower streaks across the night sky. ((Ian Forsyth/Getty Images), 2018 Ian Forsyth)

The annual Geminid meteor shower is set to peak this week and we’ll have a shot to see it in Michigan skies.

The meteor shower, which started its appearance earlier this month, will peak tonight (Dec. 13) and early Dec. 14. The best chance to see it will be around 2 a.m. from a dark-sky location, according to EarthSky, or from 3 a.m. to dawn.

“This year, a waxing gibbous moon will be above the horizon during peak time for viewing. But it’ll set shortly afterwards, leaving the sky dark for watching meteors,” says EarthSky. We could be dealing with some cloud cover in Metro Detroit.

According to NASA, The Geminids are caused by debris from a celestial object known as 3200 Phaethon, whose origin is the subject of some debate. Some astronomers consider it to be an extinct comet, based on observations showing some small amount of material leaving Phaethon’s surface. Others argue that it has to be an asteroid because of its orbit and its similarity to the main-belt asteroid Pallas.

The Geminids can be seen by most of the world. Yet, it is best viewed by observers in the Northern Hemisphere.

NASA will broadcast a live stream of the shower’s peak Dec. 13-14 via a meteor camera at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, weather pending, starting at 8 p.m. CST on the NASA Meteor Watch Facebook page.

Related: What experts say was likely cause of mysterious fireball that lit up sky across Metro Detroit

About the Author:

Ken Haddad is the digital content and audience manager for WDIV / ClickOnDetroit.com. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013. He enjoys suffering through Lions games on Sundays in the fall.