The night sky will come alive at the end of this week as the earth moves through a cosmic dust patch.
The result: the Gemenid meteor shower.
The nighttime display is due to peak on Thursday and Friday night, and will be especially brilliant this year because the moon is in the earth’s shadow, said Campbell County Planetarium Director Paul Zeleski.
The show is already an impressive one that usually outshines rival showers like the Leonids, Zeleski said. Viewers can expect to see anywhere from 30 to 100 meteors in an hour. The objects are usually flecks of ice, sometimes space dust that burn up in the atmosphere. They can be anywhere from the typical meteor, which is about the size of a grain of sand to the larger baseball-sized objects.
As for the best time to go outside, the most meteors should be visible around 2 to 3 a.m., but Zeleski was confident that viewers will get good show at any time of night.
He expected that the meteors will be visible within city limits, but for the best experience, people should get out into the country, away from city lights.
The National Weather Service predicts that nightly lows in the area will be around 20 degrees Thursday and 18 degrees Friday — all the more reason for sky-gazers to bring along some warm clothes, the blankets and hot chocolate.