The best show in the state is tonight and it doesn’t cost a thing. The Geminids meteor shower happens every mid-December over Nebraska skies. Krista Testin is the director of the Mallory Kountze Planetarium at the University of Nebraska – Omaha and says it gets its name from the constellation Gemini.
Testin says, “The Geminids meteor shower is actually peaking on Thursday. Meteor showers occur when the Earth runs through the tail or trail of a comet usually. In this case it is an asteroid. When the asteroid orbits the sun it leaves behind a rocky trail. Every year mid-December we run through this trail and we see a bunch of what people call shooting stars.”
The constellation Gemini will be directly overhead around 2 a.m. However, you should be able to see some shooting stars at 9 a.m. and they will come from all parts of the sky. At the peak, people should be able to see between 60 and 120 an hour.
Testin says you don’t need any fancy equipment to experience the meteor shower. She says, “When you are trying to look through a telescope or binoculars, your field of view gets so small. You don’t want to zoom in and get a small field of view. It is actually a good idea to take a couple people with you, a few friends, and look at different directions in the sky. That way you have a better chance of seeing more of them.”
Those who live in cities won’t have the best experience. Testin recommends driving to a secluded, dark area and look to the skies. If you can’t make it tonight the meteor shower will continue on Friday but there may not be as many to view.