Today the biggest meteor shower of the year is set to put on a shooting-star show tonight when the Geminids streak across the sky - at least in places that won’t be overcast.
The highly anticipated Geminid meteor shower can be seen from both the northern and southern hemispheres, according to NASA, and many of the meteors will be visible to the naked eye.
Some excellent photos of Geminid meteors in 2015 have already been taken. The shower is going on now and it’s expected to be a great one!
From a radiant point in the constellation of the Twins, the annual Geminid meteor shower rain down on planet Earth. The Geminids makeup helps them penetrate deeper into Earth’s atmosphere than any other meteor, leading to bright, long arcs lasting for as long as two seconds, according to NASA.
Tonight, the Geminds reach their peak and could be quite spectacular.
The peak night of the 2015 Geminid meteor shower is December 13 (evening of December 13 until dawn December 14).
The nights before and after might be good as well. Geminid meteors tend to be few and far between at early evening, but intensify in number as evening deepens into late night. The waxing crescent moon will set at early evening, leaving dark skies for this year’s Geminid meteor shower.
Geminid meteors are bright! This shower favors Earth’s Northern Hemisphere, but it’s visible from the Southern Hemisphere, too.
Orbital path of 3200 Phaethon
Some information: the Geminids
The Geminids – so called because the apparent source of their trails is placed in the constellation of Gemini (the Twins). Geminids are pieces of debris from an object called 3200 Phaethon. Long thought to be an asteroid, Phaethon is now classified as an extinct comet.
Basically it is the rocky skeleton of a comet that lost its ice after too many close encounters with the sun. Earth runs into a stream of debris from 3200 Phaethon every year in mid-December, causing meteors to fly from the constellation Gemini.
Meteor flash with an aurora borealis shimmer, Norway
When the Geminids first appeared in the early 19th century, shortly before the U.S. Civil War, the shower was weak and attracted little attention. There was no hint that it would ever become a major display.
The Geminids are considered to be one of the more spectacular meteor shower during a year, with the possibility of sighting around 120 meteors per hour at its peak.
December 2, 2015 at 10:34 p.m. from the Tucson, Arizona foothills
credits: Eliot Herman
How to View the Geminids meteor shower
The best opportunity to see the Geminid Meteor shower is during the dark pre-dawn hours of December 14.
Where to view the Geminids :
Most of all, they must have fun!
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