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The Geminids put on a show to say the least. The International Meteor Organization (IMO) reports the shower produced up to 160 meteors per hour on the peak night! That beat out the expectations. It also may verify recent thoughts that suggest the Geminids are becoming more active every year!
From this graph you can see how the Geminids slowly increased in intensity leading up to the peak night. Then activity quickly diminished. I personally witnessed 5 meteors in 20 minutes the night before the peak, but we had a snowstorm in central Pennsylvania on the peak night; I was unable to get an observation.
A minor meteor shower peaks tonight. It is the Ursid meteor shower, but it is more of a sprinkle. This shower will only produce about 10 meteors per hour. This is just slightly more than you would see on any given night of the year, absent a significant meteor shower; however, it has been known to produce as many as 100 meteors per hour during a good year.
The moon will set well before midnight tonight. So, viewing conditions will be very good! (Depending on cloud cover of course)
Winter Solstice Was Today!
You also have the longest night of the year to take a look for meteors! Enjoy your time outside this weekend! Not too many things are free anymore; however, looking at the night sky is still one of those things. Thanks for reading! Just look up, you never know what you will see.
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A crystal clear air mass will bring splendid conditions for stargazers across the East Coast of the U.S. Look for the thin crescent moon near Venus this evening, then the Milky Way later at night.