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The Spectacular 2017 Geminid Meteor Shower Is Here

The Spectacular 2017 Geminid Meteor Shower Is Here

"Most meteor showers are caused by comets", CNN notes.

"The Geminid Meteor Shower is considered one of the most active and brilliant displays". Thanks to the waning crescent moon, it'll be easier to see the debris fall from space this year.

The annual Geminid meteor shower will peak between 7:30 p.m. December 13 and dawn December 14, with rates around one per minute, according to NASA.

NASA says the peak of the Geminid meteor shower Wednesday night will be "dazzling".

This year the Geminid meteor shower is, as predicted by NASA, to be at its maximum at around 2 am on December 14. Every 1.4 years, Phaethon's orbit takes it closer to the Sun than any other known asteroid, heating its surface to roughly 1,300 °F (700°C).




The name "Geminids" comes from the constellation Gemini as the meteors appear to spark outward from the star formation. But more importantly for the meteor shower, 3200 Phaethon is a rare asteroid that forms a tail. The asteroid is the 32000 Phaethon, and having this phenomenon over comets results in dust grains that burn up as they enter the Earth's atmosphere, NASA claims.

But if you are a constellation aficionado, don't focus mainly on the Gemini constellation. It's also said to be even better than the Perseids of August, another spectacular shower (uh oh, some meteor competitiveness?). Conditions will improve just as quickly, revealing mostly clear skies by midnight, just in time for the best viewing hours. But you'll be able to see the streaks and fireballs from around then until about early morning, so if you want to set your alarm a little later, enjoy the rest.

Viewers will get a particularly good look tonight thanks to a dark sky. You won't need a pair of binoculars or a telescope but you will need to be about 40 miles outside of your local metropolis.

And if it's cloudy where you are, NASA will broadcast the Geminid shower live via Ustream starting at sunset December 13 from the Automated Lunar and Meteor Observatory at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

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