The 2020 Geminid (Gemini) meteor shower – the most notable meteor shower of the year – will peak at dawn on December 14 (Sunday evening and Monday morning). However, you could also see great performances in the sky the previous days, on the morning of December 12 or 13 or at any time of the week, with the number of meteors increasing until its peak.
Image source: Time.com
The Geminid meteor shower originates from asteroid 3200 Phaethon. Every December, our planet Earth crosses part of the orbit of an object called 3200 Phaethon, an asteroid sometimes referred to as a “rock comet”. Debris from the collision of this asteroid with another object while flying through the Earth’s upper atmosphere at a speed of 130,000 km / h will leave bright Geminid meteor trails.
With a period of 1.43 years, this tiny asteroid with a size of only about 5 km will fly extremely close to the Sun (about a third of the distance between Mercury and the Sun), when thermal cracks The extreme impact will cause more debris to be in its orbit.
TIME OF OBSERVATIONS
The best viewing time is around 2 a.m, when Gemini is at its highest. At its peak, with optimal viewing conditions, you can see up to 150 streaks per hour, and with moonless skies accompanied by this year’s rain, that’s entirely possible. Moreover, in addition to the meteor shower, you can also watch the waning moon and Venus appear in the eastern sky at the same time before dawn on the 13th.
Although meteors appear from the constellation Gemini, they can also appear from anywhere in the sky. For best results you should look beyond this constellation so you can catch any shooting stars with a long “tail” across it, just look at Gemini and you will only see short meteor trails.
The live stream of the Geminid meteor shower roughly coincides with the constellation’s bright star Castor. However, this is due to a coincidental alignment (Between Castor, the emitter and Earth), as Castor is 52 light years from Earth while the meteors shine in the upper atmosphere, about 100 km above the surface of the planet.
The truth is, if you keep your eyes on the constellation Gemini, you won’t be able to see the long “tails” of meteors as they cross the sky and their fading burning process. . Keep your eyes away, cover the entire sky so you don’t miss any meteor trails or glowing fireballs!
Meteors emanate from the star Castor, in the constellation Gemini
Geminid meteors tend to emanate from the constellation Gemini (Gemini). Image source: Earthsky
GUIDELINES FOR COMMENTS
6 tips for successfully observing the meteor shower:
To observe the meteor shower, we naked eye only, these devices will only limit your vision. This year, the Geminid meteor shower is unaffected by moonlight, so this is an opportunity for astronomy enthusiasts to have a full “meteor hunt.”
Are you ready to enjoy this brilliant winter “light show”?
The HAS translation team.