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Don't Miss The Geminid Meteor Shower This Weekend

author

Tom Hale

Senior Journalist

clockDec 11 2015, 18:52 UTC
100 Don't Miss The Geminid Meteor Shower This Weekend
Geminid meteor above Mobius Arch in Alabama. Henry Lee/Flickr. (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Stargazers are in for a treat on Sunday and Monday as the Geminid meteor shower puts on a show.

After 10 p.m. ET (3 a.m. GMT) on the nights of December 13 and 14 you should be able to see a Geminid meteor every one or two minutes on average, Sky & Telescope predicts. NASA has also created a handy tool for you to calculate the activity at your chosen location at a particular time.

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The Geminids will appear to radiate out of the Gemini constellation, hence the name. However, the meteors will appear from all corners of the sky, so you don’t have to look in a particular direction.

As ever with viewing meteor showers, it always easier to see them if it’s a clear night and you’re far away from the artificial glow of cities and streetlights. It’s also good to go outside half an hour before the shower starts so your eyes become acclimatized to seeing in low light.

When you see a meteor, you are witnessing bits of debris burning up as they hit Earth’s atmosphere at over 127,100 kilometers per hour (79,000 miles per hour). The specks of cosmic dust are fragments from the 3200 Phaethon comet. This comet, which is just 1.6 kilometers (3 miles) wide, makes an orbit around the Sun every 1.4 years.

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Check out the NASA website for more information.

Main image credit: Henry Lee/Flickr. (CC BY-ND 2.0)


spaceSpace and PhysicsspaceAstronomy
  • tag
  • space,

  • Meteor shower,

  • Comets,

  • Geminid Meteor Shower,

  • Astronomy

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