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Geminid meteor shower to peak Thursday and Friday — plus, a comet!

Comet Wirtanen has a light blue hue in this image taken by NASA astronomer Bill Cooke using an iTelescope widefield 90 mm refractor and color CCD camera Nov. 29 at Siding Spring Observatory in Australia.

This week, you’ll be getting a cool show in the night sky! The annual Geminid meteor shower is expected to peak this week!

The meteor show is the strongest and brightest of the year. If you can, head to the dark countryside late Thursday (Dec. 13) night and Friday (Dec. 14) morning. That’s when the meteor shower is supposed to peak. You could see up to 75 meteors an hour!

The Geminids are active every December when Earth passes through a massive trail of debris from the parent comet named 3200 Phaethon. The debris burns up when it hits the Earth’s atmosphere, showing up like shooting stars in the night sky.

This year, the meteor shower should be bright because the moon sets earlier around 10:30 p.m. local time so the moonlight won’t fade out the meteors.

NASA suggests going to the darkest place you can, give your eyes about 30 minutes to adjust to the dark, including looking at your cell phone. Then lie flat on your back and look straight up, taking in as much sky as possible. Then you will start seeing Geminid meteors. They should burn like bright green fireballs.

But don’t blink! They’re estimated to be traveling up to about 100 mph!

And while you’re looking for comets, keep an eye out for a small, faint “ghostly” green patch in the constellation of Taurus. That will be Comet 46P/Wirtanen which will be making its closest approach to Earth (7 million miles) for the next 20 years! It will be visible to the naked eye!