Friday, 18 January, 2019

Geminid meteor shower over Norfolk in December 2018

Geminid meteor shower over Norfolk in December 2018 Geminid meteor shower over Norfolk in December 2018
Theresa Hayes | 15 December, 2018, 19:11

The Geminid meteor shower happens every year, when the Earth flies through debris left behind by an asteroid named 3200 Phaethon.

According to Sky & Telescope, the Geminids are set to peak at 7:30 a.m. EST (1130 GMT) on December 14, when Earth plunges through the thickest part of the trail of dust and debris left behind by the asteroid 3200 Phaethon as it orbits the sun.

And finally, we've got real-time footage from Germany, showing what the Geminids Meteor Shower looked like from a European vantage point. The phenomenon, also called the Geminids, is one of the year's most prominent showers and peaks between December 13 and 14. But it is slated to set about 10 p.m., after which the sky should be the darkest and best time for viewing the light display. The darker your sky, the better, though you don't have to leave the city to see the brighter ones.

Of course, that's all if you're in the countryside.

Be it the fancy Google doodle or the ceaseless stream of Whatsapp messages, Geminid Meteor Shower has been grabbing our eye all through the day.

An excuse to ditch our phones and stargaze? They set out to figure out where it came from, but it took more than a century until Phaethon was discovered.

Phaethon's origin is still debated. It's very similar to an asteroid known as 2005 UD, which has led some scientists to believe that the two objects used to be part of a larger body that collided with an asteroid or just split apart.

"No telescopes or binoculars or any other aid is needed, just your eyes and a clear, dark sky", Wheaton College astronomer Dipankar Maitra said.

"Maybe [it's less well known] because it's cold for so many during this shower's peak", Diana Hannikainen, Sky & Telescope's observing editor, said in a statement.

The unique space rock, which demonstrates characteristics of both comets and asteroids, orbits the sun every 1.4 years and comes so close to the star that it's surface gets heated to about 1500°F (800°C). Starting at dusk, spectators should be able to spot between 50 and 100 meteors per hour, with the show peaking around 2 a.m.

Now we're onto the time-lapse: This video from Arizona shows a plethora of meteorites falling from the sky, dazzling above the desert.

How many shooting stars will there be?

Previous year the asteroid passed closer to Earth than usual, its brightness making it a popular target for telescopes.