Published: Wed, December 13, 2017
Markets | By Erika Turner

Look out for the Geminid meteors

Look out for the Geminid meteors

Most meteor showers occur as Earth passes through the debris trail and orbit of a comet. And with the moon appearing slim in the sky, the moonlight will not affect viewing.

A waning crescent moon will preside over the Geminids, casting insufficient light to blot out the show.

The Geminids are named after the Gemini constellation, which is where they appear to radiate from. The light is created as the rock burns up while going 78,000 miles per hour through Earth's atmosphere.

"Phaethon's nature is debated", said Cooke.

The Geminid maximum also coincides with a bright return of its parent asteroid, 3200 Phaethon. As it approaches the sun, the asteroid heats up and fractures, sending dust and rock into space.

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Geminid meteors are bright and fast (79,000 mph), and the shower is famous for producing fireballs, which are meteors brighter than magnitude -4, the same magnitude as the planet Venus. The Perseids are named for Perseus, the Leonids are named for Leo, and the Geminids are named for Gemini.

Just try to get away from those city and street lights.

"Places like Darwin, Brisbane and equivalent places in Western Australia have the best views", Dr Musgrave said.
"Suggested gear includes a lawn chair, lots of warm clothing, blankets, cookies or fruit, and a warm, non-alcoholic beverage". Wind chills will be below freezing in most locations. But weather conditions could be better around the same time Wednesday morning. Astronomers expect the most meteors to be visible Tuesday night through Thursday. Observers in the Southern Hemisphere can still enjoy the Geminids meteor shower. It is within this time window that stargazers will witness a shower that boasts anywhere between 20 to 120 meteors per hour.

A photographer looks at the sky at night to see the annual Geminid meteor shower on the Elva Hill in northern Italy, Dec. 12, 2015.

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