Each year at this time, our planet encounters a debris stream of rock particles made by Asteroid 3200 Phaethon as it orbits the Sun.
As Earth moves in its orbit around the Sun, it collides with this rocky debris stream and the particles hit our atmosphere at 22 miles per second to become “shooting or falling stars.” It is thought that the Geminds are brighter than other Meteor showers because they involve larger and heavier debris than normal cometary dust and penetrate deeper into the atmosphere.
If you are a city dweller you still may see the brightest Geminids as long as you are not staring into a street light or nestled in amongst tall buildings.
And unlike last year’s Geminids, which had to compete with a supermoon’s bright light, this year the moon won’t be a major factor to spoil our view.
If you have the time and inclination, start watching for Geminids at 8 p.m. by looking low in the east for the constellation Gemini for which this meteor shower is named.
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