Meteor shower | Annual event | 3200 Phaëthon | Remnants of asteroid

Image Source: Martha Dean in San Saba County, Texas, captured this photo of a Geminid fireball on December 14, 2020 | EarthSky Community Photos
Image Source: Martha Dean in San Saba County, Texas, captured this photo of a Geminid fireball on December 14, 2020 | EarthSky Community Photos

News

A cosmos marvel: Geminid Meteor shower tonight

Happy Stargazing!

By Dibyak Kapali |

Tonight, the cosmos invites you to witness a remarkable celestial event as the Geminid Meteor Shower takes center stage in the night sky.

A once-a-year spectacle, the Geminids deliver a mesmerizing show of shooting stars, painting the winter night sky with streaks of light radiating from bright meteors, while the Moon will be below the horizon the whole night.

Scan the entire sky, NASA advises observers, as they can happen in any specific direction. If weather permits, viewers can witness an impressive display of 60 to 120 bright and fast multi-coloured Geminid meteors per hour.

The shower will be visible until December 20, overlapping with the Ursid meteor shower.

Discovered in 1983 when an unidentified debris stream intersected Earth’s orbit, the meteor shower is named after the Gemini constellation, which serves as the radiant point of origin for the meteors.

What sets the Geminids apart is their unique origin — unlike most meteor showers that result from comet debris, the Geminids are formed from the remnants of asteroid 3200 Phaëthon named after the character in Greek mythology who drove the chariot of the Sun-god Helios.

The Geminids meteor shower is best observed during the night and predawn hours, providing a nearly 24-hour broad maximum, making it visible globally.

Dibyak Kapali is a Researcher and Social Media Lead at the_farsight. He is a student of Microbiology.

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