Geminid meteor shower reaches its peak Thursday night

The year's most spectacular meteor shower is this weekend

How to Spot This Year's Spectacular Geminids Meteor Shower

The Geminid meteor shower will peak at those times as it streaks across the sky, astronomers say.

According to NASA, scientists do not wholly agree on the nature of the object and think it to be either a near-Earth asteroid or an extinct comet.

Meteors will be visible beginning 8 p.m., but they will be more prominent past midnight and will last until 5 a.m. Friday.

The meteors move at a speed of 22 miles per second and burn up at about 24 miles above the Earth. In flawless conditions-which is to say under clear skies and away from light pollution-you might be able to see as many as 120 Geminid meteors per hour during peak activity.

Google on Thursday dedicated a doodle to the Geminid Meteor Shower 2018, showing the path of the meteors through Earth's atmosphere.

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The moon won't be outshining many of them, setting at about 10:30 Thursday night and 11:30 Friday.

First discovered via satellite data 35 years ago, an asteroid called "3200 Phaethon" is responsible for bringing the spectacular Geminid meteor showers to Earth's atmosphere each December. There is no need of any special gear to watch this celestial event and all that one has to do is to find a dark place, and look up at the sky. You could see up to 75 meteors an hour!

But light pollution, weather and other factors means it will be more like 50 an hour. In suburbs though, showers will be around 30 to 40 per hour.

"Simply face north-east and scan the sky to see dozens of shooting stars at its peak".

The green-coloured comet will be at its brightest between December 14 and 18.

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Geminid meteors are bright and fast (79,000 mph), and the shower is famous for producing fireballs, which are meteors brighter than magnitude -4, the same magnitude as the planet Venus.

Heavy rain and strong winds are expected to cross Ireland on Saturday, but Sunday will be "bright and breezy". Eastern Time on December 16, according to NASA.

Clear skies, unfortunately, have been something of a rarity, but if stargazing is your thing, keep your fingers crossed for clear conditions later this week because the skies are going to light up with the biggest meteor shower of the year.

Double-check your local forecast to make sure clouds won't obstruct your view.

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