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Shooting Stars – Geminids Meteor Shower

GeminidsThe peak nights of the 2015 Geminid meteor shower are expected to be on December 13-14 (night of December 13 till dawn December 14) and 14-15 (night of December 14 till dawn December 15). Most meteor showers are from comet remnants, but the source of the Geminids are, as they say, ‘shrouded in mystery’, but probably caused by an asteroid named ‘3200 Phaethon’.


Photo courtesy meteorshowersonline.com

The first observations of this particular shower occurred in the 1830s, so they are a fairly recent celestial event, only 160 years old. The average rate of meteor fall is around 40 per hour, but in recent years it has been closer to 80, even 120 in an hour. They are ‘slow’ moving, and tend to have a yellow hue in their trails.

The crescent moon will set early, so we should have fairly dark nights to see them.  The best viewing hours are typically 1:00 am through 3:00 am, and the further you are from ‘light pollution’ the better the view. Get away from the glow of city lights and toward the constellation from which the meteors will appear to fall from for the best view.

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