YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – The Geminid meteor showers peaked Wednesday night, but with all the falling snow there was no chance to see it. Tonight, we are on the tail end of visibility of the shower.
Though the higher meteor count would have occurred Wednesday night, meteors will continue through early Friday morning. So the question is, will we be able to see any across the Valley?
For an hour-by-hour breakdown of conditions tonight, watch the video attached to this story. You can also scroll down for more…
The Geminid Meteor shower happens every December and is known for producing a high number of meteors. In prime conditions, it is possible to see over 100 meteors per hour on the night it peaks. Typically, the best visibility is after midnight and in dark, rural locations.
The cause of the meteor shower is the asteroid known as 3200 Phaethon.
According to NASA, the asteroid was first discovered in 1983. Typically, meteor showers are caused by comets and some scientists believe 3200 Phaethon may be an inactive comet, but it remains classed as an asteroid.
The reason for the debate, according to NASA, is meteor showers typically occur as Earth passes through the debris left behind from comets. Asteroids may also produce debris, but debris fields that cause meteor showers usually correspond with comets.
3200 Phaethon, generally, does not show any comet-like structure until it passes by the sun. The asteroid passes closer to the sun than any other named asteroid. When it makes this pass, it has been seen releasing debris, similar to how a comet would release debris. Because of this, it has been referred to as a “rock comet.”
Now that you know the background, what’s the forecast for visibility? Well, the chances of seeing any meteors will be slim, but it is possible.
Clouds are expected to become a bit more patchy through Thursday evening and into the early morning Friday. Where clouds linger, a lot of them will likely be thin, cirrus clouds. Cirrus clouds don’t always completely block out the sky, so even if some clouds are present, visibility may still be possible.
The forecast for tonight is as follows:
If you head out, good luck and bundle up! Be sure to share any photos with us, if you’re lucky enough to capture any. You can share photos with us by clicking here.
You can check the hour-by-hour forecast by clicking here.