Geminid meteor shower arrives overnight

The Geminids are coming

It's all part of the Geminid Meteor Shower, which can produce some of the brightest meteors. As a bonus this year, cosmologists will have a chance to examine Phaethon up close in mid-December, when it crosses adjacent to Earth since its discovery in 1983. The Gemini meteor shower is present in the constellation Gemini. The summer Perseids-which the American Meteor Society calls "the most popular meteor shower"-may be better known, and are arguably the closest contender to the Geminids". When the Earth passes through the trail left by Phaethon, the dust and debris it leaves behind appear as shooting stars as they burn up in the atmosphere of Earth.

The Geminids can be seen with the naked eye under clear and dark skies, according to a NASA blog post.

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The greatest intensity of a meteor shower will be at the night from 13 to 14 December.

The Geminid meteor shower began almost 200 years ago, scientists speculate, when asteroid 3200 Phaethon collided with another object to produce a steady stream of particles. In the southern hemisphere, you will have a subdued but still handsome show because Gemini doesn't rise very high above the local horizon. The rate of meteors should pick up toward 2 a.m. Dr. Reynolds says to look directly overhead toward the radiant in Gemini. "Something much brighter than a normal meteor shower".

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The meteor shower will begin in the early evening, with good numbers of meteors visible starting about 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.

You should be able to see shooting stars as soon as night falls, but the best views tend to come between 2am and 3am. They also suggest to give your eyes about 20 minutes to adapt to the dark for optimal viewing. If you're in a cold area, dress warmly and grab a blanket to lie down (ideally somewhere far away from light pollution).

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