TONIGHT: Geminid meteor show to put on a show over WNY

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The annual Geminid meteor shower, widely considered one of the best shows of the year, is set to peak tonight. This time of year, it isn’t often WNY residents get to see the show with abundant cloud cover generally present. Tonight, however, skies are expected to be clear enough to be able to view the show, especially early.

The Geminids are a reliable display. While rates vary year to year, peak numbers often approach or exceed 60 meteors an hour (or a meteor a minute) under ideal conditions. Ideal conditions isn’t just a reference to lack of cloud cover. The moon often plays a role, washing out all but the brightest meteors some years. While meteors can technically be seen any time after dark, the bright moon will be an issue tonight through 3am. You’ll still be able to see the show, but 60/hour will be tough until that moon sets. After 3am, local viewing will be maximized until dawn. The catch there is that clouds will likely be thickening up by that point

Geminids will be flying all over the sky, so your best bet is to simply find a comfy spot away from light sources and look up.

BEST ADVICE: On paper, the best time for WNY residents to maximize results is after 3am. However, I fear clouds will be eating away at meteor rates by that point. You can’t see anything unless the sky is clear, so it might be best to shoot for after 10pm but before 3am. Meteor rates won’t be peak, but good enough to justify your time while you sneak in the final moments of clear skies before the clouds move in. Good luck!

Chief Meteorologist Eric Snitil

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