The yearly Geminid meteor shower has once again arrived to Earth’s skies, offering a remarkable sight for those lucky enough to catch it. This time around, however, stargazers have only a brief window to see the show.
While the highly anticipated shower is set to hit its peak this weekend, a full moon could drown out the rare display regardless of one’s vantage point. Those heart-set on grabbing a glimpse will have the best odds before moonrise, between 6 and 7 p.m in their locality, where lucky onlookers could in theory see up to 88 meteors per hour streak across the night sky.
The meteor shower occurs annually as the Earth passes through the debris field of 3200 Phaethon – an extinct comet named after the Greek god Phaëthon for its close proximity to the sun – and is often the highlight of every star-watcher’s year, thanks to its bright, multi-colored fireballs.
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Asteroid 3200 Phaethon was first discovered in 1983 and is the third-largest potentially hazardous near-Earth asteroid (NEO) known to science, with a diameter of 5km, or roughly half the size of the space rock which helped drive the dinosaurs to extinction 65 million years ago.
The Geminids kicked off on the evening of December 4 this year, and are expected to wrap up around December 17, though beyond Friday and Saturday nights the spectacle will be increasingly difficult to spot.
You can catch several different live feeds streamed from locations around the world below. Good luck catching a glimpse!
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