Tuesday, June 18, 2024

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Watching the Geminid Meteor Shower at its Peak This Week: A Guide

The Geminid Meteor Shower is the focus of interest for stargazers this week, peaking on Wednesday and Thursday. Despite occurring in the winter, the Geminids are considered to be one of the strongest and most consistent meteor showers, with as many as 120 meteor trails per hour. They often have a greenish hue and can produce fireballs. The peak activity is expected to occur on Wednesday night into Thursday morning, and the minimal moonlight interference in rural areas will allow for potentially seeing one meteor trail per minute. Meteor showers occur when Earth passes through debris trails left by comets and other space objects, but what makes the Geminids different is that they originate from an asteroid called 3200 Phaethon. Discovered in 1983, this asteroid is theorized to have broken apart under the stresses of rotation, causing it to eject dust and debris into the solar system. This makes the Geminid meteor shower unique as it originates from an asteroid, not a comet. The Geminids can be seen across the globe, and forecasted conditions will make this year a perfect time to catch the meteor shower in action. Those wanting to view the Geminids are advised to look upward during the night and predawn hours, wear warm outerwear, and bring blankets as they wait patiently for a shooting star.

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