Last month we saw the Leonids, and this month we’ll get to see the Geminids! Keep an eye on the sky the night of December 13th to see this beautiful meteor shower take place!
The Geminid meteor shower is usually one of the best of the year, typically with many "fireball" events. A "fireball" is a meteor brighter than the planet Venus, which is currently shining brilliantly in the southwest after sunset!
The shower is believed to be caused by debris from the asteroid/defunct comet, 3200 Phaethon. Phaethon is the only body in the solar system whose orbital path can explain the origin of the Geminid shower.
Just like the Leonids, the Geminids get their name due to their proximity to the constellation Gemini. A meteor shower derives its name from the point in a constellation where the meteors seem to originate, also known as the radiant. Each meteor shower has its own unique, distinct orbit and radiant, due to where the Earth happens to intercept the debris stream left in space by the comet/asteroid.
We recommend finding a dark spot clear of light pollution to view this event. The moon will be shining bright that night, so try not to look at it too much to keep your eyes adjusted to the darkness.
Most importantly, make sure to bundle up if you’re watching from the outdoors. Stay safe and happy viewing!