Written by Staff Writer
This article was originally published in October 2017. It has been updated with new pictures and forecasts from this year’s show.
The Geminid meteor shower will peak this weekend, offering a sky-watching treat.
At its peak Friday night into Saturday, the shower may produce 70 to 120 meteors per hour, according to NASA meteor astronomer Bill Cooke, the head of the U.S. space agency’s Meteoroid Environment Office.
The shower occurs when Earth passes through the debris trail of an asteroid called 3200 Phaethon. Earth passes through its path every year, but this year’s display may be less than in years past, according to the Astrophysical Union.
The meteor shower is expected to last into early Sunday.
Who can see it?
Viewers in North America may be able to view the shower with a clear horizon, according to CNN Meteorologist Judson Jones. The best time for viewing will be before midnight Friday and before dawn Saturday, he said.
Astronomers said viewers in Europe, Asia and Australia will likely not see anything because their nights will be filled with other celestial events, according to NASA.
Conditions for the shower are likely to be better in Africa and South America, according to NASA.
How to watch it online
To watch the show, there are several options, including NASA’s live stream , where viewers will be able to click on a button to go directly to the site.
The Slooh Community Observatory will also be live streaming a feed of the shower on its website and an app. The website has links to live telescopes that can be accessed using a code from the app.
Where to find the best viewing sites
Lights! Camera! Action! Live shooting of the Geminid Meteor Shower
Another option is to check out Flickr’s original search list, which has links to different spots that are home to bright, dark skies.
CNN has also partnered with skywatching website Astronomy.com to create its own searchable list of Geminid viewing sites. Each site has its own suggested “spotting window” of around 15 minutes, when the shower should be at its peak.
To find the best locations, you will need to determine the location of the “night sky,” which includes the stars, planets and galaxies, according to the website.
If you find a super-clear night with a blue sky, you might as well try to see if you can see the meteor shower, according to astronomers. “When the sky is dark and in your viewing window, you probably will be the only one there,” the site says.
What is the Geminid meteor shower and what makes it special?
What makes the shower special?
This meteor shower is expected to be one of the best of the year. “The Geminids are our oldest shower and about as old as the solar system,” according to NASA.
The shower began with the last day of the autumnal equinox around 1862. Earth’s orbit around the sun passes through a region of space littered with debris from 3200 Phaethon, the researchers said.