Oklahomans Should Have Good Chance To See Geminid Meteor Shower

Wednesday, December 12th 2012, 12:05 pm
By: Richard Clark

The weather should be good for Oklahomans who want to catch a glimpse of a celestial light show this week.

The annual Geminid meteor shower is underway, but the peak is expected on the night of December 13 and 14, 2012.

The Geminid meteor shower is caused by the object 3200 Phaethon, thought to be an asteroid with a "rock comet" orbit. The meteors from this shower are slow moving, and experts believe it's  intensifying every year.

Recent showers have featured 120–160 meteors per hour under optimal conditions, which are generally around 2 to 3 a.m. local time.

According to Wikipedia, the Geminids were first observed in 1862, much more recently than other showers such as the Perseids (36 AD) and Leonids (902 AD).

On the night of December 13 from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. central time, meteor experts from NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center will be available to answer your questions via a late-night web chat.

More information on the NASA Geminid chat.

NASA says there's a second possible meteor shower that could significantly boost the number of meteors. The source of the possible new shower is Comet 46P/Wirtanen. NASA says debris from Wirtanen's orbit might produce another 30 meteors per hour.

News On 6 meteorologists Mike Grogan and Alan Crone say weather conditions in Oklahoma Thursday night and Friday morning should be good. They say there may be some high clouds, but overall conditions should be conducive to seeing meteors.

If you take photos or video of the shower, please share them with us by sending them to pics@newson6.net.