The best meteor shower of the year peaks Wednesday night, but clouds may obstruct the view for some of us in the Lower 48. There’s nothing like a thick deck of clouds to ruin a good meteor shower, am I right?
There’s a fast-moving Alberta clipper swinging through the Midwest and Northeast, a tendril of tropical moisture flowing into the South and high clouds that could make it difficult to see the night’s shooting stars.
All is not lost, though, especially considering you have more than just one night to see the meteor shower — it peaks Wednesday, but it will still be possible to see some Thursday or even Friday.
Meteors could be shooting across the sky at a rate of 120 per hour Thursday night, according to the International Meteor Organization.
How do you see the Geminids? Go outside and look up! If you’re in a bright location like a city or suburb, you may want to hit the road and drive away from the city lights. Even in the city, though, you should still be able to see a few of the brightest meteors.
Best view: Southeast, Southern Plains, Southwest, parts of the Great Basin
Dry air and clear skies will make these regions the best places to see meteors. The southern half of Texas should be ruled out of this, though, as tropical moisture is getting pulled over into the region from the East Pacific. Sorry, Houston.
Decent sky: Great Basin, Mid-Atlantic, South Florida, Pacific Northwest (maybe), parts of Maine
These areas are tough. Although the Mid-Atlantic will have the Alberta clipper zooming past just to the north, Virginia and the D.C. region may still break through the clouds for some good viewing Wednesday night. South Florida will be clear for at least part of the night. The Great Basin and perhaps parts of the Northwest, too, may have enough clear sky this evening to see the show.
Don’t even bother: Northeast, most of the Midwest, Northern Plains, Colorado, Wyoming
Oh boy. Some of these locations are really going to be socked in with clouds. The Alberta clipper’s timing couldn’t be worst for the Midwest and Northeast. Residual high-level moisture will be a problem for the northern Plains, Colorado and Wyoming. Southern Texas looks solidly clouded over by moisture streaming in from the East Pacific (which is going to end up producing rain in that region later this week).
Best view: Parts of New England, all of the Southwest, Great Basin and some of the Plains
The weather systems generating clouds Wednesday night in these regions will have cleared out a bit by Thursday. The Southwest is still the best place to do your sky-watching (as it always is), and most of California will be clear. New Englanders will also see at least some clear sky Thursday night as the clipper exits stage left.
Decent sky: Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, parts of the Midwest, Pacific Northwest
These areas are questionable again for the second night in a row. However, with the clipper departing the East Coast, we think the Mid-Atlantic will have better viewing, and clouds should part a little in the Midwest, west of Ohio. Pacific Northwest areas will still be dealing with some high clouds, but it will be worth it to go out and check the sky every so often.
Don’t even bother: Gulf states, Ohio, Pennsylvania, parts of the northern Plains and Upper Midwest
Lots of moisture in the air in the South, which will cover the Gulf States with clouds. Lingering clouds will be an obstruction in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Michigan may be socked in for the whole night. North Dakota and Montana will also have a hard time seeing anything.