Saturday, 23 February, 2019

Mark Your Calendars for a Superb Geminid Meteor Shower

Geminid Meteor Shower Image source You Tube Video Screenshot
Theresa Hayes | 08 December, 2017, 05:19

The US is tipped to have prime astronomical conditions to view the shower.

The big occasion is the USA getting flawless astronomical conditions for the strong Geminid meteor shower. The shower will peak the night of the December 13th and be visible from most points on Earth through the morning of the 14th. Gemini is now rising about sunset and is already high by midevening, so, unlike any other major meteor shower, the Geminids can be seen in good numbers by as early as 9 or 10 p.m.

The Geminids are known as particularly bright meteors, especially when they flash across dark night skies, which December 13-14 should be this year.

The Geminids meteor shower runs annually from December 7 - 17.

Why is this year so favorable for the Geminids? But this year, the moon is expected to be in phase that will keep any extra light from interfering. "Meteor showers are best seen without any special equipment - just look up, stay warm, and enjoy the show".

A meteor shower is not just an increased number of meteors, however. But if it's too cold for you to get yourself outside to watch, there are plenty of ways to stream the fireballs. The Leonids appear to fall from Leo the Lion, the Orionids from Orion, and the Geminids from Gemini.

The Geminid meteor shower is distinctive insofar as it's not caused by a comet, but rather an asteroid with many properties of a comet.

They are remnants of asteroid 3200 Phaethon, which is believed to have collided with another object to produce the particles that now create the meteor shower. The shower is first known to have been spotted by observers on a riverboat running along the MS river in 1833. Within the light pollution of a fair-sized city on the big night, you might only see a maximum of 10 or 15 Geminids per hour. It peaks the night of December 13/14 under a slim crescent Moon, whose feeble light won't interfere even after it rises around 3:30 a.m. local time.