The night sky is offering a bit of a treat for astronomy nerds as 2020 finally comes to a close.
As our planet moves through a cloud of debris left behind from an asteroid called 3200 Phaethon, we get to see what scientists call the Geminid meteor showers. This year’s shower is even more unique than usual because it’s happening almost at the same time as a new moon, which darkens the sky and makes fainter meteor fragments more visible, according to NASA.
A few tips can make the light show even more spectacular.
The best time to watch the showers in the northern hemisphere is from the evening of Dec. 13 until 2 a.m. eastern time on Dec. 14. The meteors will look like they’re coming from the constellation Gemini.
Light pollution will block out most of the show, so leaving the city to watch from an isolated spot is your best bet. In the same vein, keep your phone in your pocket because the light from the screen will make it harder to spot debris as it will interfere with your night vision.
It’s likely to be cold, so if you’re watching outdoors, bundle up. Bringing a friend or relative to help spot debris is a good idea, but if you’re not in the same household, stay safe and keep some distance.
NASA suggests stargazers lie down with their legs pointing south and feet pointing up as they relax and watch the show.
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