During the month of December, stargazers will have the chance to view a fantastic display put on by the Geminids meteor shower and Asteroid 3200 Phaethon.
November’s meteor showers produced some fantastically bright meteor showers that yielded a couple of extremely bright fireballs, as meteor showers often do. In Finland, a fireball said to have been as bright as 300 moons lit up the night sky, while witnesses in Phoenix caught a glimpse of another unusually bright exploding fireball produced by the Leonids meteor shower. Some were even visible in Maryland. The Geminids meteor shower will also be making its way across the state this December.
In comparison, the Geminids meteor shower will be more active than November’s Leonids meteor showers. You can see the Geminids between Dec. 4-16. It’s expected to peak on the night of Dec. 13.
Asteroid 3200 Phaethon itself has a diameter of 3.2 miles, but it does not pose a threat to the earth. As the asteroid passes, fractures will occur on its body that will cause it to leave behind a trail of debris, which then becomes the Geminids. Experts are predicting that it will produce 120 shooting stars (meteors) per hour during peak viewing. Meteor fireballs may also occur in some areas.
The Geminids takes its name from the constellation Gemini, which is the area in the sky where the meteor shower will occur.
Once the weather forecast has been revealed, choose a clear night, bundle up and enjoy! Will you be checking out the meteor shower? Let us know in the comments below.