Geminid Meteor Showers

The Geminid meteor showers will peak on the evening of December 13th and 14th. This promises to be the best meteor shower this year. This meteor shower gets its name from the fact that the meteors appear to emanate out of the constellation Gemini. Also in Gemini this month is the planet Mars. That should make finding Gemini quite easy. In the early evening simply look for the bright orange object in the eastern sky, that'll be Mars.

The Geminid meteor showers are known to produce a wide variety of meteors from faint streaks to impressive fire balls.. The meteors are different from other meteor showers in that they are encountering Earth's atmosphere at a medium speed (22 miles per second) and in the fact that they are the result of a near encounter with a ferrous asteroid (3200 Phaethon) and not the icy remnants of a cometary encounter.

It is interesting to note that 3200 Phaethon will be a mere 11 million miles from Earth on the evening of December 10th. This is the closest it's been to Earth since its discovery in 1983.

The very best meteor viewing will be on December 14th at 4:45PM GMT (8:00AM Pacific Standard Time) So that means locations in the far East will be the best place to view the shower. However, since the peak stretches from about 6 hours before the actual peak until about 6 hours after, you still should be able to see a wonderful show the morning of December 14th.

Don't forget to step outside and look up every once in a while. Look at the wonders that hover there in the night sky and remember just how truly minuscule you really are. There's nothing like the vastness of space to adjust your perspective.

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