Geminid meteor shower to peak Thursday and Friday - plus, a comet!

13 December, 2018, 22:11 | Author: Ann Santiago
  • The year's most spectacular meteor shower is this weekend

Keep an eye peeled toward the heavens Thursday night into the early morning hours Friday as one of the more eye-catching meteor showers is scheduled to make a visit.

Although the Geminid shower is known for its "shooting stars", the number of meteors visible depends on the time and how dark it is.

The Geminid meteor shower happens when Earth passes through a massive trail of debris of 3200 Phaethon, which is an Apollo Asteroid.

It is expected that we will be able to start seeing the meteor shower on Thursday 13 December from around 9pm or slightly earlier. And tonight's meteor shower is a great one to watch with family, as other meteor showers often begin in the wee hours of the morning.

You should start to see the Geminid meteors appear, their rate will increase hitting their peak at around or around 100 per hour around 2am Thought this number is reflective only of someone watching from the flawless position under totally cloudless skies.

And though the Geminids were first documented in the 1860s, this meteor shower is relatively new.

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).

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Here's a glimpse of what the skies have in store for you just past dusk today.

. For optimal viewing conditions, get as far away as possible from city lights and face south. Phaethon is a odd blue asteroid that scientists named after its namesake- the Greek God Apollo's son.

The meteors are bits of material left behind by 3200 Phaethon-they burn up in Earth's atmosphere, creating streaks and fireballs in the night sky.

If you want to wish upon a star, tonight's your night!

NASA suggests going to the darkest place you can, give your eyes about 30 minutes to adjust to the dark, including looking at your cell phone.

According to Dark Sky Discovery, the United Kingdom has some of the largest areas of dark sky in Europe, meaning our chances of observing the Geminids in their full glory are high.

"The Geminids will appear to the north-east, just above the horizon in the constellation of Gemini", she said.

Meteors will be visible beginning 8 p.m., but they will be more prominent past midnight and will last until 5 a.m. Friday.

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