The famous winter Geminid meteor shower will occur in mid-December, marking the largest meteor shower of the year. According to NASA, the Geminids will reach their peak on the night of December 13 and early morning of December 14.
Basic information about the Geminids meteor shower
Origin: 3200 Phaethon (meteor)
Activities: from December 4 to December 17 each year
Maximum frequency: 120 streaks/hour
Broadcast point: constellation Gemini (Gemini)
Meteor speed: 35 km/s
A Geminid “fireball” appeared over Murmansk, Russia. Author: Yang Sutie
The Geminids meteor shower is considered one of the most “splendid” meteor showers of the year, with bright meteors appearing quickly and en masse. This year, it is estimated that the frequency could reach more than 100 meteors per hour. However, if you are in a light-polluted location, this frequency will drop significantly.
NASA said the best time to view the Geminids meteor shower is around 2 a.m. local time. The upper moon will set after midnight, so this meteor shower will not be affected by moonlight.
The Geminids meteor shower appears in the sky over Heilongjiang province, China. Author: Jeff Dai
ORIGIN OF METEOR SHOWER
The Geminids meteor shower comes from debris from the asteroid 3200 Phaethon. This asteroid has an orbital period around the Sun of 1.4 years. Sometimes it will come close to Earth (at a safe distance) and sometimes very close to the Sun, somewhere inside Mercury’s orbit, just 0.15 astronomical units (AU) from the Sun, this which is equivalent to approximately 22.5 million km.
Simulation of the orbit of asteroid 3200 Phaethon. Source: Phys.org
Debris wandering in space and preparing to enter the Earth’s atmosphere is called meteorite (meteoroid). When they enter the earth’s atmosphere, they burn and are called meteor (meteor), and if they reach the ground, it is called meteorite (meteorite).
The Geminid meteor shower has been known for over 100 years. According to the data, the first recorded sighting was in 1883, in the Mississippi River region of the United States. Since then, the Geminid meteor shower has become more active and has become the first meteor shower of the year. The reason is that over the past few decades, Jupiter’s gravity has pulled debris from asteroid 3200 Phaethon – the source of the meteor shower – closer to Earth.
The meteor shower usually peaks around 2 a.m. local time, but you can also see it earlier, starting at 9 or 10 p.m. the day before.
Like the Geminids, meteors often appear in the constellation Gemini. This constellation will rise in the east at dusk, reach its peak at 2 a.m. then gradually diminish in the west.
Gemini constellation and location of the Geminids meteor shower in the sky. However, it is not necessary to find the constellation. Source: Phys.org
Although meteors tend to appear from the constellation Gemini, they can also appear from anywhere in the sky. For best observing results, you should look widely at the area around the constellation Gemini to see meteors with longer “tails” as they pass. If you only look directly at the constellation Gemini, you will not be able to see the entire process from the appearance of the meteor until its disappearance.
Observe the Geminids meteor shower without the need for a telescope or binoculars, with the naked eye. Find a ventilated area, away from electric lights, ideally in a completely dark place. Remember to bring a blanket and dress warmly as it gets cold at night. And remember to let your eyes get used to the dark for about 20-30 minutes and then observe!
Refer to NASA, Space and Earthsky