Little Rock missed out on the Lunar Occultation of Mars December 7 due to rain and clouds, and the same could happen for arguably the best meteor shower of the year – the Geminids.
The Geminids Meteor Shower typically produces 100-105 meteors per hour, according to NASA. A waning gibbous moon at ~68% illumination will lower viewing some this year to 30-40 meteors per hour. The shooting stars in the Geminids are bright, so it will still produce a great show if viewing conditions are good.
The meteor shower starts ~9pm Tuesday, December 13 and ends Saturday, December 17. The peak is 6am Wednesday, December 14, according to NASA.
The next most active meteor shower behind the Geminids is the Perseids, occurring in August each year and produces ~50-100 meteors per hour.
Unfortunately, for Little Rock, we will have strong to severe storms move through Tuesday afternoon and night, with clouds hampering the view of the peak of the Geminids through Wednesday morning.
There will still be a chance to catch some shooting stars after the peak the night of December 14 in Little Rock though. Wednesday night is the best shot for those in Little Rock to see some of the shower as long as clouds clear through the day Wednesday.
BEST WAY TO VIEW: Move away from city lights and tree cover Wednesday night. Allow your eyes about 30 minutes to adjust to the dark. The Geminids get their name because they radiate from the constellation Gemini; however, you can look anywhere in the night sky to view the meteors.
The best time for viewing will be midnight through 2am, but shooting stars should be active any time through the night.
Moonrise the night of December 14 is 10:53pm and moonset is 12:15pm the following day, December 15. The moon will be 58.8% illuminated Thursday, December 15.
STARGAZING FORECAST: We are hopeful clouds will clear out enough Wednesday night and overnight. Temperatures will be chilly in the upper 40s by 10pm Wednesday and low 40s by 2am.
For more on your forecast from the Arkansas Storm Team check here