Astronomy for all
Thursday January 10th 2013

Geminid Meteor Shower 2011

The Geminid meteor shower returns every December, thanks to the Earth’s plowing through debris left by a boiled asteroid. The best time to watch is between 10 p.m. local time Tuesday, Dec. 13 and sunrise on Wednesday, Dec. 14.

This represents the view from mid-northern latitudes at about 9:00 p.m. local time around December 13.

“Observers with clear skies could see as many as 40 Geminids per hour,” predicts Bill Cooke of the NASA Meteoroid Environment Office.  “Our all-sky network of meteor cameras has captured several early Geminid fireballs.  They were so bright, we could see them despite the moonlight.”

The best time to look is between 10 pm local time on Tuesday, Dec. 13, and sunrise on Wednesday, Dec. 14th. Geminids, which spray out of the constellation Gemini, can appear anywhere in the sky. “Dress warmly and look up,” says Cooke.  “It’s that simple.”

The source of the Geminids is near-Earth asteroid 3200 Phaethon. Most meteor showers come from comets, so having an asteroid as a parent makes the Geminids a bit of an oddball.

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