Geminid meteor to display this Wednesday

Posted December 12, 2017

The Geminid meteor shower, which will peak Wednesday night and be visible through early Thursday morning, is consistently one of the brightest shows of the year.

Known as 3200 Phaethon, the three-mile-wide object was discovered in 1983 by two British scientists examining Nasa satellite images and initially classified as an asteroid.

NASA will livestream the Geminid shower beginning at 9 p.m. on December 13, from the Automated Lunar and Meteor Observatory at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

The American Meteor Society stated that on the peak night of December 13 and 14 between the hours of 1:00 and 2:00am local standard time (LST), an observer located in mid-northern latitudes under clear skies has the opportunity to view at least 75 Geminid meteors and those living in rural areas can watch more than hundreds of these meteors.

When these space dusts enter Earth's atmosphere, they end up sparkling beautifully. This object, which was discovered on October 11, 1983, will come very close to Earth this time, 26 times farther away than the moon, thereby putting on a spectacular show. But have you ever heard of a rock comet? This year the astronomers will have the opportunity to analyse Phaethon closely in mid-December as it will make its nearest pass by Earth since it was found. Spectators will see several Geminids in the Southern Hemisphere, where the radiant doesn't rise very high above the horizon. Give your eyes time to settle in the dark.

The meteors could appear anywhere in the sky, since the entire planet will be passing through the cloud, Vandernoot said, although the best place to look will be to the northeast.

When is the Geminid meteor shower?

"This awesome meteor shower is happening as the Earth passes through a cloud of dust left behind by an ancient asteroid". "When you see a meteor, attempt to trace it backwards", said Cooke.

Peak activity is expected at around 7:30am on Thursday, but a good probability of seeing the phenomenon is also expected on Wednesday evening.