On Monday, December 14th, the Electoral College will formally cast its votes for president based on the results that have been certified for each state.
President-elect Joe Biden is projected to win 306 electoral votes, and Trump is projected to win 232. It takes 270 electoral votes of the 538 available to become president, so the Electoral College will be deciding the race for Biden.
On the same day, the Earth will be in the midst of multiple rare cosmic events: a meteor shower, a comet, and a total eclipse of the sun.
The meteor shower, known as the Geminid meteor shower, happens every year between Dec. 4 to Dec. 17, with the best nights for viewing on Dec. 13 and Dec. 14, so this is not an unusual occurrence. However, astronomers predict that this year’s meteor shower will be the largest and most impressive in years.
NASA has predicted that the peak will occur on the night of Dec. 13 into the morning of Dec. 14. Those viewing from the Northern Hemisphere should have a good view of the meteor shower all night, with a peak around 2 am on Sunday.
Nasa also expects observers from certain areas to be able to see close to 60 meteors per hour.
Then a few hours after the meteor shower strikes, we will see a rare total eclipse of the Sun.
The Dec. 14 total solar eclipse will begin in the Pacific Ocean. Then it will make landfall near Saavedra, Chile, where it will be most visible and first appear as a partial solar eclipse at 11:38 a.m. local time (9:38 a.m. EST; 1428 GMT), according to a NASA fact sheet.
The moon will begin to completely block the sun in Saavedra at 1 p.m. local time (11 a.m. EST; 1600 GMT) and the totality will last for 2 minutes, 4 seconds. Closer to the center of the path of totality, eclipse viewers will see up to 2 minutes, 10 seconds of totality.
If that isn’t weird enough, December 14, 2020, is exactly halfway between two “Great American Eclipses,” which are also very rare events. There is also a comet coming, known as C/2020 S3 (Erasmus). The comet was discovered earlier this year by astronomer Nicolas Erasmus, while working at the South African Astronomical Observatory.
There is a lot happening in the sky this month. A week after the electoral college vote, Jupiter and Saturn will appear closer together from the planet Earth than they have in hundreds of years. The conjunction will appear in the sky just after sunset on the evening of Dec. 21, according to researchers.
Since the summer, the two planets have been approaching one another more closely than in many generations, From Dec. 16-25, the two will be separated by less than the diameter of a full moon.
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