Published: Wed, December 13, 2017
Research | By Raquel Erickson

Meteor shower expected to brighten sky today

Meteor shower expected to brighten sky today

While the shower peaks on December 14, it lasts till December 16.

The International Meteor Organization predicts the Geminids shower to brim with about 120 meteors an hour. Not all the meteors you might see belong to the Geminid shower, however. "Lonavala, Matheran, Bhandardhara dam and the slopes of the Sahyadris are some other locations from where you can get a clear view of the shower", adds Kale. The Geminid meteor shower occurs every year and is one of the most exciting meteor showers, not only because it is viewable by everyone from Earth but because they were a part of a greater scientific mystery. And if it's cloudy where at your place, NASA will broadcast the Geminid shower live via Ustream starting at dusk December 13 from the Automated Lunar and Meteor Observatory at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. "It's either a near-Earth asteroid or an extinct comet, sometimes called a rock comet".

Generally, comets, which are chunks of ice having lots of dust come close to the Sun.

As for the 3200 Phaethon asteroid itself, it will be visible for about a week starting from tonight (December 13) until December 17, and will be seen in a slightly different area in the sky. By the sun's radiation, the ice melts and the dust and rocks are left behind along the orbit of the comet.

Generally, the meteor shower associated with 3200 Phaethon, a 5.1 km piece of rock, peaks around second week of December. This year the visibility of this meteor shower will be high as the moon will only be a crescent and the moonlight will not be bright to suppress this celestial firework show. It should be visible to bare eyes from about 8.30pm on.

"If the conditions are right, and you can see the night sky, it is probably the best meteor shower of the year". That's because the nights of December 13 and 14 mark the best time to view the Geminid meteors, says Ian Griffin.

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