Look up: Geminid meteor shower on display December 13

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The year's best meteor shower, the Geminids, will peak tonight.

Brits have an opportunity to see the showers for themselves in the skies on Friday night, along with Comet Wirtanen which passes the Earth this weekend as well.

As it travels it leaves a trail, and when Earth passes through that trail each year in December, the bits stream through the Earth's atmosphere and create what's known as the Geminid meteor shower. However, the day's earlier storms are expected to carry into early Saturday, once again obstructing any views of the Geminids for much of Florida.

If you want to wish upon a star, tonight's your night!

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Named after the Gemini constellation, where the meteors are believed to be originating, the Geminid meteor shower is also called the "rock comet".

In the hours before sunrise Friday, the most meteors will be visible in the North American sky, peaking about 7:30 a.m. ET, predicts Sky & Telescope. Wait until the moon sets, around 10:30 p.m. local time, then let your eyes adjust for about 30 minutes-sans smartphone, too.

The meteor shower was first spotted from a MS riverboat in 1833 but has been growing stronger and brighter in the almost 200 years since, as Jupiter's gravity keeps pulling the stream of particles closer and closer to Earth.

But whether it was the weather, or the battle to stay awake until the 2:00 peak that accounted for you missing this spectacle, there's no need to fret.

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The shooting stars produced by the Geminids meteor shower appear to come from the constellation of Gemini, the Twins.

Find the darkest place you can outside, away from lights, and lie flat on your back and look straight up.

As Earth barrels through that dust and debris, its particles hit the atmosphere at 22 miles per second (35 km/s) and are vaporized in a fiery glow.

If this is your first rodeo with viewing meteor showers, Cook has some great advice on how to get the best viewing experience. But, the society reported, it's the darkness of the winter sky that makes the meteors stand out even in the early evening hours. Viewers in dark areas could get up to 120 every hour, while those near lights of small cities will see about 50 per hour.

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