The Geminid meteor shower, one of the brightest displays of shooting stars in the lunar calendar, is set to light up the sky this month. According to Space.com, when the Geminids hit their peak, stargazers will be able to see these celestial bodies race across the sky at about 120 meteors per hour. This year, the meteor shower will reach its climax on the night of December 13 into the morning of December 14.
Where the Geminid Meteor Shower comes from
The Geminids were first recorded in 1833 from a boat on the Mississippi River. But the meteor shower has gotten much stronger since the time it was discovered. This is because Jupiter’s gravity has pulled the stream of star dust closer to Earth’s orbit over the years.
Geminid meteors come from an asteroid that is close to Earth called the 3200 Phaethon. Experts believe that the object may have undergone a collision which caused the trail of space particles to develop. Each time the asteroid orbits around the sun, more of it disintegrates. When the Earth orbits through these particles, we see the meteor shower. It’s called the Geminid meteor shower because the stars seem to shoot from the part of the sky that’s associated with the Gemini constellation.
When, Where And How You Can See The Geminid Meteor Shower in 2017
This year, the Geminids are expected to peak at around 2 a.m. As Space.com notes, you won’t have to go out and buy an expensive telescope to see the shooting stars. You’ll be able to see the meteor shower with your bare eyes.
It’s more common to see them if you live in the northern hemisphere but it’s possible to see them in the southern hemisphere as well, the Mirror reports. But you won’t be able to see much if the sky is overcast or if you live in an area that has lots of air pollution.
Even though they are very bright and seem very close to Earth, you don’t have to worry about any of these celestial objects falling from the sky and hitting you. They typically burn themselves out when they travel through Earth’s atmosphere.