Tonight’s weather forecast in Miami calls for mostly clear skies—great news for anyone who’s hoping to catch the epic Geminid meteor shower as it streaks over the city in all its glory. When it comes to setting yourself up for the best possible celestial show, there are lots of other factors to consider, including the time of night and your vantage point. But rest assured, a little preparation, patience and your naked eye is all you really need to enjoy this annual astral event, especially from a beautiful Miami beach or rooftop bar.
What is the Geminid meteor shower?
First observed in 1862, the Geminid meteor show is considered by many experts to be the most reliable and active annual meteor shower, with more than 100 meteors per hour lighting up the sky every December. Along with the Quadrantids, the Geminids is one of just two major meteor showers that don’t come from a comet, instead originating from a suspected Palladian asteroid known as 3200 Phaethon.
When can I see the Geminid meteor shower?
Every year, the Geminid meteor shower peaks around December 4 to 16. For 2022, the highest intensity will be during the early morning hours of December 14 (around 2 or 3am), though you should be able to make a sighting as early as December 13 evening, when longer-lasting meteors known as “Earthgrazers” will streak across a large swath of sky.
How can I see the shower in Miami?
The good news: The Geminid shower is thought to be intensifying every year, with most recent showers bringing 120 to 160 meteors per hour in the Northern Hemisphere under optimal conditions. Also, compared to other showers, most of the yellowish-green Geminid meteors travel at medium speed (around 22 miles per second), making them much easier to spot. The Geminid meteors appear to come from the radiant in the constellation Gemini (hence the name), but they can show up almost anywhere in the night sky.
The less good news: Geminid’s visibility, like most other celestial events, is largely dependent on the sky’s brightness wherever you are. In Miami, tonight’s waning gibbous moon will have 76% illumination (not great, compared to 2020’s 2% waning crescent). Still, as long as you begin gazing before the moon rises (around 10:20pm), you should be able to catch plenty of the spectacle.