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The chance to see the strongest meteor shower of the year is on its way this week.
Known for their bright, intensely colored meteorites, Geminids have been swarming the night sky since late November, and the downpour will peak between the night of December 13 and the night of December 14. According to the American Meteor Society.
“If you had to pin one (meteor shower) as the best of the year, it would be Gemini,” said Robert Lunsford, the community’s fireball report coordinator. “Normally, let’s say from the suburban area, under good conditions, you can probably see 30 to 40 meteors (per hour).”
With clear skies and no bright light in their path, Geminids can appear at a rate of about 120 visible meteors per hour. According to NASA. But there is no escaping the great sign in the sky that will obscure most of the faint meteors this year: The moon will shine with 72% fullness, According to the American Meteor Society.
“Even if it’s the moon, it’s still going to be a good downpour,” said Bill Cooke, head of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office. “Find a smooth dark sky, find something to block the moon, maybe a building or tree and look at the moon through the sky.”
Hear the loud explosion that officials believe is a meteor hitting the atmosphere
– Source: CNN
First observed in the mid-1800s, The shower initially provided only 20 visible meteors per hour at the maximum. Since then, Gemini has reappeared every year and has grown stronger in numbers. By the 1960s, the event had gone beyond the important. August Perseids, A more powerful shower with hourly rates of 50 to 100 meteorites.
Cooke said it’s unclear how Gemini might change in the foreseeable future, with some models predicting an increase in downpour intensity and others predicting a gradual decline over the next few decades.
Geminids are unique in that their source is the asteroid 3200 Phaethon, while many other meteor showers arise from the debris of icy comets. This is why Geminid flows may be unpredictable because asteroid breakups are more difficult to model, Cooke said.
The asteroid 3200 Phaethon is unusual in its own right, When it approaches the sun, it behaves like a comet. It also has an orbit that is closer to the sun than any other asteroid, which it completes every 1.4 years. As 3200 Phaethon approaches Earth, the asteroid sheds its dusty remnants, hence the Geminids.
Meteor lights up the night sky in Texas and four other states
– Source: CNN
Gemini is active from November 19 to December 24. According to EarthSky, however, Lunsford said his hourly wages won’t hit double digits until December 10.
The shower is known for being family friendly and Good for young viewers in North America to observe because it’s the only big shower that shows the most activity before midnight. Lunsford said the meteors are emanating from the constellation Gemini, which will rise in the sky around 22:00 ET.
“You can observe by moonlight when the glow is at its highest, between 1:00 am and 2:00 pm, or you can try viewing it in the early evening, when the moon is still below the horizon,” Lunsford said. Said. “The rates will probably be pretty similar at that time as well.”
Gemini will be visible from anywhere in the world, but for the Southern Hemisphere it’s best to watch around 2 am local time because the glow will need to be at its highest to be seen. Lunsford said the position of the radiation would be low on the horizon, causing meteors to appear at a lower rate.
According to NASA’s meteor camera data, Cooke said the Geminid shower is among the best for the production of fireballs, meteorites that are brighter than the planet Venus and second only to the Perseids. The largest and brightest Gemini meteorites are said to often appear greenish in color.
Illumination of the Moon has affected Geminids watching for the past two years, but meteor showers are expected. will occur around a new moon in 2023, creating perfect viewing conditions.
“When you see a meteor burning up in Earth’s atmosphere, you’re seeing something that has existed in space for a very long time,” Cooke said. “From a scientific point of view, by studying it, we can learn something about what makes up these comets. It’s a beautiful firework (demonstration) to the casual observer – meteor showers are nature’s fireworks.
The next and last major annual meteor shower of 2022 will be the Ursids, which peaked on the evening of December 22. According to EarthSky.
Watch the world’s most visible fireballs
– Source: CNN
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