Scientists say it is going to be the best meteor shower of the year with as many as 80 meteors per hour or maybe more.
Several things will help lead to a near perfect viewing across southwest Virginia.
CLEAR, DRY SKIES
Water in the atmosphere tends to make certain night sky features blurry. When skies are dry, the atmosphere is "clean" and those same features become quite distinct and detailed.
NEW MOON TONIGHT
The moon tends to be brighter than we realize, and our eyes have to compensate for that brightness in the sky. This means those tiny meteors can get lost in the light. However, tonight's new moon will mean an extra dark night. This will lend itself to brighter meteors in the sky tonight.
The meteor shower will serve as an opening act for the Geminids. Scientists say we may pass through decades-old debris left behind from the comet Wirtanen, which would add an additional 10 to 30 flashes per hour.
WHERE SHOULD YOU LOOK?
- Find a dark place away from city lights.
- Dress warm, take a chair and pair of binoculars
- Look to the northeastern sky after 8:00 P.M.
- After midnight, look overhead for the best view
Over 100 per hour, some will be quite bright, others will be on the dim side
The constellation Gemini, highlighted by its twin bright stars Castor and Pollux, is in the northeast. Bright Jupiter will be in the same general area of the sky.
This is the most reliable shower of the year •
For 2013: You might already know this, but two potentially good comets are coming, one in March (PanSTARRS) and the other in late November (ISON). The second comet just might be the best one in 100 years. If so, you will never forget it. Or it might be a bust.