Sci-tech

A gem of a meteor shower

A gem of a meteor shower

One interesting fact about this meteor shower: The meteors radiate from fairly high above the horizon early in the evening.

And Wednesday night should be especially good for viewing: The moon will be a thin, waning crescent that won't rise until 3:30 am and will only give off off dim light that shouldn't obscure the meteors.

Although the Geminids can be seen from cities, it is advised to head out to a play were artificial lights do not interfere with your viewing. Last year's supermoon cast extra brightness into the night sky, which diluted the visual impact of the Geminids, a particularly showy meteor shower.

The meteor shower, called the Geminids, is caused by the huge space rock 3200 Pheathon, which is due to brush close to our planet on December 17. With comets being the initial basis of meteor showers, a lot of dust grains accumulate and burn up as they reach our atmosphere.

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The shower will start at approximately 10 pm on 13 December when the Gemini constellation will be noticeable in the north-eastern sky. The best way to view the shower is simply by looking up.

That being said, it can be hard to predict exactly where in the sky meteors will be seen. Skywatching is easy. Just get away from bright lights and look up in any direction! 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.

The Virtual Telescope said: "To make this meteor shower of particular fashion and very special this year is a nice coincidence".

Not only is the shower predicted to be one of the most dazzling shows ever with around 100 meteors per hour, the spectacular display will also be visible from nearly every country in the world. The agency is streaming the meteor shower tonight, broadcasting from the Automated Lunar and Meteor Observatory at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.


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