10:53 PM EST, December 12, 2011
The best meteor shower of the year will peak this Tuesday night. However, conditions will be less than favorable for viewing the annual Geminid meteor shower of December in West Michigan. Cloud cover will be the biggest issue this time around. If skies were to be clear, the light of the waning gibbous moon, just a few days past full phase, would tend to wash out all but the brightest meteors.
Under ideal conditions, the Geminid shower can produce well over one hundred meteors per hour from a clear, dark sky site. In years past (1990 and 1998), I have seen up to 150 Geminid meteors per hour rain down from the skies of West Michigan.In 2012, there will be a new moon on December 13 when the Geminids peak. If we are fortunate enough to have clear, transparent skies next year, we could be in store for one of the best displays of the Geminid shower in years. Keep looking up!