Idaho: home of America's 1st Dark Sky Reserve

Idahoans are fortunate to live in the country’s first Dark Sky Reserve. And what better way to celebrate this than by watching the Geminid meteor shower, one of the most spectacular meteor showers in the world? With up to 150 meteors per hour at its peak, it's an event every night sky enthusiast will love.

What makes the Geminid meteor shower so special?

EarthSky says the 2023 Geminid meteor shower is unlike any other meteor shower we see on Earth as it’s caused by an asteroid and not a comet.  I

Discovered in 1983 by Simon Green and John Davies, the asteroid responsible for the Geminids is known as 3200 Phaethon.

Photo by Michał Mancewicz on Unsplash
Photo by Michał Mancewicz on Unsplash

Though we know it orbits the sun every 1.4 years, scientists still aren’t sure how material from the asteroid’s surface gets released into the meteoroid stream.

When the Earth passes through its debris field, it generates a spectacular meteor shower that sets the sky aglow.   

When can I watch the Geminid meteor shower over Idaho?

Unlike other meteor showers, spectators have multiple chances to watch the Geminids! The window lasts from November 19 through December 24. But the peak night to watch the show is December 13 into the wee morning hours of the 14th.

According to experts at the American Meteor Society, it’s during this window that stargazers can expect to see the highest number of meteors per hour. Talk about incredible!

Do I need equipment to see the Geminid shower?

AMS says that while the naked eye can still capture the brilliance of the shower, using a telescope or binoculars can enhance the experience and deepen your appreciation for the enchanting beauty of the Geminid shower. 

Photo by Sean Pierce on Unsplash
Photo by Sean Pierce on Unsplash

We understand how busy life can be around the holidays, but if there's one event you don't want you or your family to miss out on this year, it's this extraordinary event. For more information on the Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve, click here.

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