The Geminid meteor shower – one of the best and most reliable displays of the year – will reach its peak on December 13th and 14th. Up to 100 meteorites per hour could be visible, and with the moon in the first quarter, this year's showers should be particularly impressive.
Bill Cook, chairman of NASA's Meteoroid Environments Office, said Newsweek : Sky watchers should go out after the moon set at 22:30 [on the 13 December]; In this way, there will be no moonlight to flush out the weakening meteors.
Read more: Supermoon and Total Lunar Eclipse & # 39; Blood Moon & # 39; should coincide for rare celestial event ] "With really dark skies ̵
The Geminid meteors appear in the sky from December 4 and last until December 17. Usually, meteor showers occur when the earth passes through the tail of a comet – tiny pieces of debris fall into the earth's atmosphere where they burn and produce bright flashes across the sky.
The Geminids, however, are slightly different. It is believed to be from 3200 Phaethon, an amazing space rock that has both asteroids and comets. "Unlike most meteor showers that come from comets, the geminids are from an asteroid: 3200 phaethons," NASA said in a statement. "Asteroid 3200 Phaethon takes 1.4 years to orbit the sun once. Phaethon may be a "dead comet" or a new object known by astronomers as a "rock comet".
"When Phaethon passes the Sun, it does not develop a comet's tail, and its spectra look like a rocky asteroid. In addition, the bits that form to the Geminidene Meteoroids are many times more dense than comet dust deposits. "
Phaethon meteors fly at around 79,000 miles per hour – that's 22 miles per second. The Geminids are a relatively recent addition to the Meteor Shower Calendar, which was first observed in 1862 – much later than, for example, the Perseids, which were recorded for the first time in the period around AD 36, away from areas of light pollution. Cooke gave tips on how best to see: "The keys to observing meteor showers are 1) Find the darkest spot, 2) Give your eyes 30 to 45 minutes to adjust to the dark (do not look into yours bright cell phone screen, as this messes up the night vision) and 3) lying on its back and looking up to take in as much sky as possible. Do not look at twins as meteors that are closer to the radiation are less impressive, with shorter strokes. "