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Meteor shower expected to peak Thursday

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Posted: Wednesday, December 12, 2012 12:19 pm | Updated: 10:01 pm, Wed Dec 12, 2012.

Showers are in the forecast for the next three nights, but these will be seen as light streaking across the sky and not rain or snow.

One of the year’s best meteor showers is expected to be visible beginning tonight through Friday. With a favorable forecast, Western New York is likely to get some prime — albeit cold — viewing opportunities.

The Geminid shower, according to astronomy website EarthSky.org, is a reliable and prolific shower that can produce up to 50 meteors per hour in a dark sky.

“If it’s clear and you have access to an open, dark sky, these next three nights should be favorable for meteor watching,” EarthSky.org wrote.

The new moon on Thursday has the night primed to be the shower’s peak. The moonless night and darker sky makes for easier viewing.

The forecast for Western New York is calling for partly cloudy skies tonight through Friday and includes no precipitation. Overnight lows are expected to be around 30 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

As a general rule, the Geminid meteor shower starts around mid-evening and picks up steam as evening deepends into late night. The greatest number of meteors are expected after midnight Thursday into Friday morning when it produced the greatest number of meteors for a few hours centered around 2 a.m., EarthSky wrote.

The website says to give your eyes at least 20 minutes to adjust to the darkness, and recommends spending at least an hour to watch the meteor shower. Often, the website said, meteors come in spurts and are interspersed by lulls.

The Geminid meteors are named for the constellation Gemini the Twins because the radiant point of the shower lies in front of Gemini. You don’t need to locate the constellation in order to see the shower.

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