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Great timing! Annual Geminid meteor shower set to occur tonight under mostly clear skies

A composite of 6 images showing the Geminid Meteor Shower as seen from Anacortes on Dec. 12, 2017 (Photo: Rakan Alduaij)

SEATTLE -- Usually the annual Geminid Meteor Shower doesn't get a whole lot of attention around here because getting clear skies in December is about as rare as finding a mall parking spot.

But lo and behold, Mother Nature has good timing this year and skies should be mostly clear around much of Western Washington for the show, set to peak Wednesday night.

You might be able to see a few "shooting stars" as early as 9-10 p.m., according to Space.com, but the peak of the show usually happens after midnight toward 2 a.m.

The Geminids traditionally take a backseat to the summertime Perseid Meteor Shower due to their higher frequency of meteors, warmer weather and better chance of clear skies. But Space.com says the Geminids are starting to get better publicity as the leftover asteroid dust that create the shower is being gradually nudged closer to Earth by Jupiter's gravity, making for better hourly rates of meteor sightings.

Astronomers say when the shower was discovered in the mid 1800s, it would bring maybe 10-20 meteors an hour; today that number is closer to 120.

All you have to do is dress warmly, go outside -- preferably away from city lights -- and look up. No binoculars or telescopes needed. The meteors will appear to originate from the Geminid constellation near Orion (thus their name) but any part of sky will see the shower.

If you get any photos of the show, we'd love to see them! You can tag any social posts #SoNorthwest or email them to weather@komo4news.com.

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