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Last Map Update: Mon, Dec. 11, 2017 at 5:29:11 am PST

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The annual Geminid meteor shower will peak on the night of Wednesday, December 13th into the predawn hours of Thursday morning, December 14th. This is the most prolific meteor shower of the year, but is lesser known and observed because winter skies in many parts of the country tend to be cloudy, and when skies are clear, it can be very cold to watch. The Geminid shower will gradually build over the next several nights when it might be possible to witness a few bright meteors called fireballs. Skies are forecast to be mostly clear through the middle of next week with only a few thin cirrus clouds drifting across northern and central Nevada from time to time. Interference from moonlight will be minimal with only a slender crescent moon rising just before 3:30 am PST early Thursday morning. As mentioned earlier, the Geminid meteor shower typically puts on the best show annually. Given this year’s favorable moon phase, it should be possible to see over 100 meteors per hour from a clear, dark sky site far away from city lights. As extra incentive for those willing to brave the cold and patiently watch, there could also be an outburst of higher meteor rates on the night of peak activity this year as the parent space body responsible for the Geminid shower, Asteriod 3200 Phaethon, will also be making its closest approach to Earth in its orbit around the Sun. Good luck viewing and try to stay warm!

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