- Although we're likely to be blanketed with clouds the next few days, if you're lucky, you may be able to spot the bright lights of the annual Geminid meteor shower over the skies of the D.C. area.
Geminid meteors are bright and fast (79,000 mph), and the shower is famous for producing fireballs, which are meteors brighter than magnitude -4, the same magnitude as the planet Venus.
Meteor showers are indubitably one of the galaxy's best-kept secrets. The slow-moving showers are usually seen around December every year but they peak around December 13-14 with the maximum intensity during the early hours of December 14 each year.
The meteor show is the strongest and brightest of the year.
Here's a glimpse of what the skies have in store for you just past dusk today.. During the peak of the showers, there is the chance to see up to 120 meteors per hour.
Meteors - grains of debris that burn up in our atmosphere - can be spotted on any given night, but nearly once a month, Earth plows through a collection of dust and particles left over from a passing comet or asteroid, causing what's known as a meteor shower. The peak is the 13th/14th December but you might see "shooting stars" on other evenings.
The best time to watch will be after midnight, once the moon has set.
It is recommended that you try to get away from city lights as it can make it harder to see because of the light pollution.
It was named after the Greek myth of Phaethon, son of the sun god Helios.
The meteors are known as the Geminids because they appear to radiate from the constellation Gemini.
According to Dark Sky Discovery, the United Kingdom has some of the largest areas of dark sky in Europe, meaning our chances of observing the Geminids in their full glory are high.
For those unwilling to stay up on a week night, Mrs O'Connor said earlier viewings would still offer a shooting star at least every minute.
Where to watch Geminid Meteor Shower? They typically enter Earth's atmosphere at about 22 miles per second, about half the speed of the Leonid meteors, which soar through the darkness each November.