PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Anyone brave enough to stand out in the cold at night in December might be lucky enough to spot the Geminids meteor shower as it peaks Tuesday night into early Wednesday morning.
However, in Portland, luck might not have anything to do with it. Instead, the cloud cover will determine if stargazers will see any meteors flying through the night sky.
Unfortunately for Portlanders, the weather will not be in their favor.
KOIN Meteorologist Natasha Stenbock said Tuesday night and Wednesday morning will be mostly cloudy or foggy. The cloud cover will stretch from the coast to Pendleton.
Those living in far Eastern Oregon, near La Grande, might have better luck with visibility.
Although Tuesday night to Wednesday morning is the peak of the meteor shower, that doesn’t mean it will be the only time to see it. The shooting stars will be active until December 24.
Stenbock suggests people in the Portland area try looking for them Wednesday night when the sky will be clear.
According to the American Meteor Society, dozens of meteors could be visible during the Geminids meteor shower peak.
Jim Todd, OMSI’s director of space science education, said that even if there is some cloud cover in the Portland area, the Geminids are so bright that it might still be a good show. They’re also often intensely colored, which makes them easier to see.
The Geminids meteor shower began on November 19 and is visible anywhere in the world.
The Geminids meteors are pieces of debris from 3200 Phaethon, an asteroid with unusual characteristics. In orbit, it looks more like a comet than an asteroid. In 2010, NASA’s STEREO spacecraft studied the asteroid and researchers learned it was ejecting dust. They said it’s possible the sun’s heat is causing it to fracture and give off dust, like mud cracks in a dry lake bed.