Geminid Showers

Chloe Williams, Staff Writer

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On Wednesday, December 13, 2017 the annual Geminid meteor showers took place. The Geminids are a meteor shower caused by the object 3200 Phaethon which is thought to be a Palladian asteroid with a “rock comet” orbit.  The meteors are slow moving and can be seen at the peak around December 13-14. The shower is thought to be intensifying each year. It contains 120-160 meteors per hour under optimal conditions.

This shower was discovered in 1833. It occurs from December 4 through December 17 and peaks on December 14. They usually peak at around 2 a.m. You can also see them as early as 9 or 10 p.m. The first recorded shower was in 1833 from a riverboat in the Mississippi River.

The 3200 Phaethon is an asteroid that may have collided with another object in the distant past. It produces a stream of particles that Earth runs into. The asteroid orbits the Earth every 1.4 years. It comes within a safe distance of Earth.

The Geminids radiate from near the bright star Castor in the Gemini constellation. You do not need any special equipment to view the phenomenon. All you need is a dark, open sky. You need to give yourself at least an hour of viewing time. It takes around 20 minutes for your eyes to adjust to the dark, says almanac.com

The shower is visible all night long, but may be hidden by clouds or other objects at some points. They will appear to fall away from the Gemini constellation. They are brighter than most other meteors. It is best to find a place away from man made lights for better viewing. It can occur anywhere but would be best seen at the darkest point in the night sky.  

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