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Geminid meteor shower: This sky show is about to illuminate the holiday season

What's Up in the sky for December 2017

See the "best meteor shower of the year" and the brightest stars in familiar constellations during December 2017.
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See the "best meteor shower of the year" and the brightest stars in familiar constellations during December 2017.

This holiday season is about to get brighter with another celestial spectacle — the Geminid meteor shower.

The famous meteor shower will light up the dark sky when it peaks on the night of Dec. 13 and morning of Dec. 14, according to Space.com, a space and astronomy news website.

NASA calls it the “best meteor shower of the year,” as skywatchers can expect to see up to 120 meteors per hour between midnight and 4 a.m.

Peak visibility time is around 2 a.m.

This year, the light from a waning crescent moon should make the meteor shower easy to see, The Weather Channel reports, as long as the skies are clear.

In the Myrtle Beach area, a 10-day weather forecast says clear skies are expected on the nights of both Dec. 13 and Dec. 14, with a zero percent chance of precipitation.

Forecasters predict lower-than-normal temperatures across the country during the shower, so plan on dealing with cold weather. But the good news is, low temperatures generally mean clear skies.

“Normal temperatures have dropped significantly since the cold blast in mid-November, so this will feel brutal, but arctic air often brings crystal clear skies,” AccuWeather says.

To watch the meteor shower, find a comfortable spot to lie on the ground, far away from lights in a dark area. But if you don’t want to be outside in the cold while you watch the shower, a dark room with a window that offers a good view of the sky will do just fine too.

If you do end up bracing the cold, be sure to dress warm and bring a sleeping bag or a few blankets with you outside.

The Geminid meteor shower occurs every December as Earth passes through a trail of debris from an asteroid called 3200 Phaethon, NASA says.

As dust and debris from 3200 Phaethon travel through the atmosphere of our planet, they burn out and form the bright meteor shower in the sky.

Michaela Broyles: 843-626-0281, @MichaelaBroyles

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