7 Fun Facts About Meteors

How to watch the spectacular Geminid meteor shower

 

The Geminid meteor shower is one of the most spectacular light shows of the year.

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The Geminids are visible every December when the Earth passes through a massive trail of dusty debris from a rocky object named 3200 Phaethon, long thought to be an asteroid or an extinct comet. The particle debris burns up when it strikes Earth’s atmosphere, resulting in a heavenly display of shooting stars.

The celestial spectacle peaks in the early morning hours of Dec. 13 and 14.

The best viewing time is around 2 a.m. and no special equipment is needed to see the show, but the darker the viewing area the better with as little light pollution as possible, and clear skies are mandatory. Also give your eyes about 30 minutes to adjust to the darkness and make sure you’re looking up.

Dark skies are the most important aspect for viewing the Geminids or any meteor shower, for that matter.

>> Related: North Taurid meteor shower puts on show in midnight sky for stargazers with patience

The Geminids are visible around the world, but the best viewing areas are in the northern hemisphere away from city lights.

The Geminids first appeared in the early 19th century, shortly before the U.S. Civil War, according to NASA.

 

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