Why is it called the Geminids meteor shower?

15 December, 2017, 02:21 | Author: Archie Newman
  • What time is the meteor shower? When and where to watch the Geminids

Some might be sporadic background meteors, and some might be from weaker, active showers like the Monocerotids, Sigma Hydrids and the Comae Berenicids.

The Geminid meteor shower, which returns every December, is predicted to be one of the most dazzling ever. The best time to view the meteor shower would be from midnight till morning 4 am, as its radiance would be high in the sky.

If you're lucky and there's a break in the clouds tonight, you might get a chance to see the best meteor shower of the year.

The most prolific meteor shower of the year could involve up to 120 meteors streaking across the night sky every hour.

"Even if you're facing west, if you see a meteor, and if it's a Geminid meteor, you'll see it will trace all the way back from east-northeast". But this year it is, and it's coming within about 6 million miles of Earth.

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Emanating from the bright constellation of Gemini, the shower is close near the three easily spotted stars that comprise Orion's belt. "That's because Jupiter's gravity has tugged the stream of particles from the shower's source ― the asteroid 3200 Phaethon ― closer to Earth over the centuries", reports Space.com. Meteors appear all over the sky.

It is named after Gemini, because the shooting stars appear to "radiate" from the constellation's bright stars Castor and Pollux.

"They can be seen with the naked eye so there's no need for binoculars or a telescope, though you will need to adjust your eyes to the dark".

But will you be able to see them in central Pa.? The sky should be clear enough Wednesday night that meteors will be visible before then. And unlike many annual meteor showers, which are mostly visible in the early morning hours, the Geminids tend to be an all-night affair.

The shower could be seen across Earth's Northern Hemisphere, peaking around 2:00 a.m. local time. NASA plans to broadcast the Geminid shower live via Ustream starting at sunset on Wednesday, Dec. 13.

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