Geminid Meteor Shower Peaks Wednesday Night

Dec 13, 2017, 04:51
Geminid Meteor Shower Peaks Wednesday Night

Keep your eye to the sky the next couple nights as you might see some shooting stars.

At the time of the Civil War, the shower's peak rate was about 30 meteors an hour.

It's often considered the best of the year because the meteors are bright. Phaethon is possibly what NASA refer to as a "dead comet" or "rock comet". The summer Perseids-which the American Meteor Society calls "the most popular meteor shower"-may be better known, and are arguably the closest contender to the Geminids".

The Geminids stem from the constellation Gemini and the meteors will fly in all parts of the sky.

Notably, the Geminids are also one of two meteor showers that come from what is believed to be an asteroid. Sadly, clouds will be too thick for many of us to see the meteors.

The best place to watch the showers is where the sky is darkest.

This is quite an unusually close approach of the asteroid to the Earth, but nothing to be concerned about, said astronomer Jonti Horner of Southern Queensland University.

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Peak time: around 2 a.m. Thursday morning. As the comet gets close to the sun, the ice melts a bit and releases tiny rocks.

"Phaethon has to be swinging inwards towards the Sun just as Earth is in the right place to cross [under] its orbit", Dr Horner said.

The Geminids are the result of Earth moving through the space debris and dust left behind by an asteroid named 3200 Phaethon. "If you end up in the constellation Gemini, there's a good chance you've seen a Geminid".

It appears about three handspans above the northern horizon near Andromeda around December 15 from latitudes north of Brisbane (higher if you live in Cairns or Darwin).

The presence of a waxing crescent moon this month should aid you, by not obscuring the show with moonlight.

If you miss it, don't worry. "Although people in the city should be able to see a few".

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