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Geminids meteor shower in Pennsylvania: Where and when to see it

Franklin Institute chief astronomer shares tips to view the Geminid meteor shower in Pennsylvania
Franklin Institute chief astronomer shares tips for viewing Geminids meteor shower 03:17

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The Geminids meteor shower, billed as one of the best and most reliable meteor showers of the year, is set to peak this week.

Derrick Pitts, chief astronomer at the Franklin Institute, shares his tips for viewing the spectacle among the stars.

Where should I go to see the meteor shower in Pennsylvania?

If you want to see the Geminids meteor shower, go where it's dark.

Pitts recommends areas near French Creek State Park in Chester and Berks counties, the Wharton State Forest in New Jersey, or even the "back route down to Cape May."

"Anyplace where the sky is very dark," Pitts said. "When the sky is dark like that, it makes it possible for us to see meteors in the evening sky."

Once in place, NASA recommends lying flat on your back with your feet facing south. After about 30 minutes in the dark, your eyes will adapt to the night sky and you should begin to see meteors. 

When can I view the Geminids?

Pitts says the Geminid meteor shower is particularly good for viewing early in the evening, unlike other meteor showers.

That's because the point these showers emanate from is very low on the horizon early in the evening.

"And its position gets better through the night," Pitts said. "So if you start early you'll be able to see meteors, and on into the night as well."

The best time to view will be Wednesday night into Thursday morning.

How many meteors could I see?

One or more meteors could be visible per minute, or under perfect conditions, a rate of 120 meteors per hour, according to NASA. 

The peak meteor shower won't last for very long, so take advantage of viewing times Wednesday night into Thursday morning.

Pitts says to increase your chances of seeing more meteors, have a viewing party with more people! That way you can cover more of the sky at once.

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