Geminid meteors shower the skies

Four people help push a car struggling in the heavy snow in the Tameside area of Greater Manchester this morning

Four people help push a car struggling in the heavy snow in the Tameside area of Greater Manchester this morning

The peak activity of the Geminid meteor shower took place between Wednesday evening and Thursday morning with around 50 to 60 meteors seen per hour in the night sky. It is the brightest shower of the year with anywhere from 50 to 100 shooting stars streaking across the sky every hour.

Caused by the asteroid 3200 Phaethon, the Geminids meteor shower occurs annually between December 4 and 17, usually peaking around December 13-14.

As usual, the photographers of the Tennessee Valley caught the beauty on camera! Reach a spot without city lights, maybe the suburbs, and you can enjoy the Geminid meteor shower. They are thought to originate from an astroid unlike most major meteor showers associated with debris from comets.

Here, Dr. Debiprosad Duari, Director, M. P. Birla Planetarium, Kolkata, explains meteors and the Geminid meteor shower. The best time to see the meteor shower will be on December 14 between 1 am and 2 am, when the Gemini constellation will be nearly overhead.

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In the case of the Geminids, the parent asteroid is 3200 Phaethon.

The shower will start at around 10:00 p.m., when the Gemini constellation will be visible in the northeastern sky, a little above and right of the familiar Orion constellation. Having an asteroid as the foundation of a meteor shower provides an excellent source of dust grains that will burn up as they dive into the Earth's atmosphere, according to NASA.

As an added bonus this year, astronomers will have a chance to study Phaethon up close on 17th December, when it passes nearest to Earth since its discovery in 1983.

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