Geminids 2018 in USA: How to watch Geminids in America? Best locations to view Geminids

The Geminid meteor shower is active every December when Earth passes through a trail of dusty debris caused by the asteroid 3200 Phaethon. A highlight of the meteor year, the shower peaks between December 13 and 14. They will peak at around 2am for all parts of the world if you watch them in the dark sky but those in the Northern Hemisphere will be best positioned to see them.

At the peak of the shower, you can often see more than 50 meteors per hour and could hit a maximum of about 100 per hour at 2am, NASA said.

The US space agency said: “The Geminids are active every December, when Earth passes through a massive trail of dusty debris shed by a weird, rocky object named 3200 Phaethon.

“The dust and grit burn up when they run into Earth’s atmosphere in a flurry of ‘shooting star’.”

How to watch the Geminids in America

The geminids will be visible in the North American sky, peaking at around 7.30am ET (4.30am PST), according to Sky & Telescope.

Those living in the suburbs will be able to see about 30 to 40 per hour, but if you are in a major city like New York, San Francisco or Atlanta you may not see anything, because of light pollution.

Dark clear skies are the key ingredient for observing meteor showers.

The shower can also be viewed a few hours after sunset on December 13 and 14 but make sure you keep the Moon at your back as you can the skies.

Diana Hannikainen, Observing Editor at Sky & Telescope, said: “If you’ve got a clear, dark sky with no light pollution, you might see a meteor streak across the sky every minute or two from 10pm until dawn on the night of the peak.”

But the best viewing conditions will be after midnight when the hourly meteor rate increases and and after the moon has set.

The best weather is expected on Thursday night across the central and western United States.

AccuWeatehr meteorologist Randy Adkins said: “Residents from southern Minnesota to eastern Montana, southward to the Four Corners region will enjoy generally clear skies.

“It looks like much of the East will be dealing with some cloud cover [due to] a strong storm system in the Mississippi Valley.

“Meanwhile, the northwest looks unfavourable as there will be a wealth of clouds.”

While you are scanning the sky for Geminids, look out for a small, faint “ghostly” green patch in the constellation of Taurus – Comet 46P/Wirtanen – which is making its closest approach to Earth for the next 20 years.

The comet is expected to come closest to Earth and peak on Sunday.

The best way to see the meteor shower is to lie flat on your back, so you are looking straight up and give yourself about 20 to 30 minutes to adjust to the darkness and dedicate some time looking up at the spectacular meteor shower.