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This week has the best chance of seeing the most powerful meteor shower of the year.
Known for their brightly colored meteorites, the Geminids have been circling the night sky since late November, and the shower will peak from the night of December 13 to December 14. According to the American Meteorological Society.
“If you were going to get (a meteor shower) year after year, it would be the Geminids,” said Robert Lunsford, coordinator of the Fireball Community Report. “Normally, let’s say in the suburbs, under good conditions, you can see 30 to 40 meteors (an hour).”
Without clear skies and bright lights, the Geminids appear at a rate of 120 meteors per hour. According to NASA. Still, there’s no escaping the big beacon in the sky that will overshadow most of the faintest meteors this year: the moon will shine at 72% fullness, According to the American Meteorological Society.
“It’s still a good shower, even with the Moon,” said Bill Cook, chief of NASA’s Meteor Environment Office. Find fairly dark skies, find something blocking the moon, maybe a building or a tree, and look up at the sky from the moon.”
It was first noticed in the middle of the nineteenth century. The shower initially only provided a maximum of 20 visible meteors per hour. Since then, the Gemini have reappeared every year, and their number has grown stronger. By the 1960s, this phenomenon was more than substantial August Perseids, Powerful shower at a rate of 50 to 100 meteors per hour at once.
It’s unclear how the Geminids might change in the future, Cook said, with some models predicting an increase in rainfall intensity while others predict a gradual decrease over the next few decades.
Geminids are unique in that their source is the asteroid 3200 Python, while most other meteorites are born from the icy debris of comets. This is why the Geminids’ streams are so unpredictable — because asteroid crashes are so hard to model, Cook said.
Asteroid 3200 Python is unfamiliar in itself, It behaves like a comet when it approaches the sun. It also has an orbit that completes every 1.4 years or so, which puts it closer to the Sun than other asteroids. 3200 When Python is close to Earth, the asteroid sheds its dusty remnants, hence the Geminids spectacle.
Geminis are active from November 19th to December 24th. According to EarthSky, But Lunsford said their hourly rates won’t start hitting double digits until December 10th.
Bathing is known to be family friendly and gentle A good idea for younger viewers in North America It is the only major shower that shows significant activity before midnight. The meteors appear to be coming from the constellation Gemini, which will rise across the sky around 10 p.m. ET, as Lunsford said.
“You can observe when the radiation is at its peak, which is between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. (Eastern time) with moonlight, or you can try to observe in the evening when the moon is still below the horizon,” Lunsford said. “The rates are very similar in those times as well.”
Geminids can be seen from all over the world, but for the Southern Hemisphere, viewing is best done around 2 a.m. local time at midnight, when radiation should be at its peak. Lower levels of radioactivity are on the horizon, Lunsford said, and meteors are appearing less frequently.
According to data from NASA’s Meteor Camera, Cook said the Geminids shower is best for producing fireballs, and meteors are much brighter than Venus, second only to the Perseids. The largest and brightest Gemini meteorites are said to appear mostly green.
Moonlight has affected the Geminid show for the past two years, but meteor showers are expected The year 2023 will mark the new moon Create the right viewing conditions.
“When you see a meteor burning up in Earth’s atmosphere, you see a very long time in space,” Cook said. “From a scientific point of view, by studying them, we can learn something about the formation of those comets. To the casual observer, it’s a nice fireworks (show) – meteor showers are fireworks in nature.
The next and final annual meteor shower in 2022 is Ursits, which will peak on the evening of December 22nd. According to EarthSky.