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Best meteor shower of 2018 peaks this week

The king of all meteor showers will peak the night of Thursday, December 13th. The Geminid meteor shower is notorious for producing numerous meteors every hour at its peak, year after year. It always peaks in December, and is usually the best meteor shower of any given year.

Upwards of 160 shooting stars per hour have been documented in a strong year for the Geminids. While that is most definitely not always the case, the average viewer can expect to see 80-120 multi-colored meteors every hour if conditions are just right. Occasionally there will be very bright meteors called fireballs streaking across the night sky. The meteors are composed of debris from Asteroid 3200 Phaethon and emanate out of the constellation Gemini. The good news is you don't need to find Gemini in the night sky. As long as you give your eyes 30 minutes to adjust to darkness and looking up in an open area away from light pollution, you will be able to spot plenty of shooting stars Thursday night.

Cloud cover forecast in South Bend.
None of this matters if Mother Nature doesn't cooperate. And, unfortunately, She likely won't this year. At least on the night of the shower's peak. If you want a chance to view this year's Geminid meteor shower, try venturing out either Tuesday night or Wednesday night. Neither will be ideal, but they feature the best chance at seeing some breaks in the cloud cover. It's also important to keep in mind that neither Tuesday night nor Wednesday night will feature 100+ shooter stars per hour. 

Thursday night's cloud cover and precipitation.
That will only occur after midnight Thursday night. That also happens to be the time when the heaviest, most widespread cloud cover looks to be in place across Michiana and the Great Lakes. Go figure, right? Put simply, we wouldn't venture out Thursday night as cloud coverage will likely be right around 100% for all of Michiana and surrounding areas. 

Wednesday night's cloud cover and precipitation.
If you've got extra time, you can try your luck Tuesday or Wednesday nights. Cloud coverage will probably still be less than ideal around 60-70%, but it's worth a shot! Remember, you can always track the cloud cover and the hourly forecast using the ABC 57 First Warning Neighborhood Mobile Weather App. 

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