Geminid Meteor Shower 2018: Time, date and forecasts for the best exposure of the shooting star of the year PUBLIC SATURDAY 5AM - Newsweek

Geminid meteor shower, one of the best and most reliable exposures of the year, will peak on December 13th and 14th. Up to 100 meteors could be visible all day, and with the moon in its first quarter, this year's shower should be particularly impressive.

Bill Cook, head of NASA's Meteoroid Environments office, said Newsweek: "Sky observers are encouraged to go out after the moon at 10:30 pm [on the 13 December]; in this way there will be no moonlight to wash the weakest meteors.

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"Those with really dark skies, far from the lights of the city and the suburb, should see up to 100 geminids all the time when the Gemini is taller around 2 am The people in the suburbs should see a quarter or a half of this rate, depending on the amount of artificial lights in their vicinity. "

Geminid meteors begin to appear in the sky around December 4 and last until December 17. Normally, meteor showers arrive when the Earth passes through the tail of a comet: tiny fragments of debris fall into the earth's atmosphere, where they burn, producing luminous flares in the sky.

The Geminids are a bit different, however. It is thought that it comes from the 3200 Phaethon, a disconcerting space-rock that has characteristics of both an asteroid and a comet. "Unlike most meteor rains coming from comets, the Geminids come from an asteroid: 3200 Phaethon," NASA said in a statement. "The Asteroid 3200 Phaethon takes 1.4 years to orbit the sun once." It is possible that the Phaeton is a "dead comet" or a new type of object that is discussed by astronomers called the "rock comet".

"When the Phaethon passes close to the sun it does not develop a comet tail, and its specter looks like a rocky asteroid, and the fragments that come loose to form the Geminid meteoroids are also several times denser than the cometary dust flakes."

Phaethon meteors travel at about 79,000 miles per hour, or 22 miles per second. The Geminids are a fairly recent addition to the meteor rainy calendar, having been first observed in 1862, much later than the Perseids, for example, which was first recorded in 36 AD.

People wishing to observe the meteor shower should try to get away from light pollution areas. Providing advice on the best way to see, Cooke said: "The keys to observe the meteor showers are 1) find the darkest site that is possible, 2) give your eyes 30 to 45 minutes to adapt to the dark (do not look your cell phone screen bright, as this could affect night vision), and 3) lie on your back looking upwards so as to gather as much sky as possible Do not look at Gemini as meteors closer to radiant are less impressive , with shorter trains. "

rain of geminid meteorites Geminid Meteor Rain over Doi Inthanon mountain, Chiang Mai, Thailand. iStock

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