Geminid meteor shower coming

Skywatchers will likely see dozens of meteors each hour after dark Thursday and early Friday during the Geminid meteor shower, according to an American Astronomical Society news release.

The meteor shower will be at its best after dark Thursday and before dawn Friday.

Geminid meteors appear to fall from near the star Castor, one of the “heads” of the constellation Gemini, the twins. The meteors are not related to Castor, according to the news release, rather they are debris from an asteroid called Phaethon. The shower recurs each year when Earth passes through the debris strung along Phaethon’s orbit around the Sun, the release said.

The Geminid shower was the first to be linked to an asteroid, the release said. Most meteor showers occur when Earth crosses the orbit of a comet. Though the Geminid shower was discovered in the 1860s, it was in 1983 that astronomers identified Phaethon as the shower’s source, the release said.

For the best view of the Geminid meteors, get away from city lights. Look for state or city parks or other safe, dark sites.