Geminids this Wednesday 'could be a really dynamite show'


The meteor fell Dec. 2, shortly after 3 a.m., which the department said was an early arrival of the "Geminid" meteor shower, which is scheduled to peak Dec. 13 to Dec. 14.

Since its first recorded observation in 1833 (from a riverboat on the Mississippi), the Geminid shower has only grown stronger, thanks to Jupiter's gravity tugging the particle stream closer to Earth. Rather than look directly at Gemini, which will limit your view to meteors that don't travel far, look around the constellation to see meteors with longer tails.

Florian said a meteor is a piece of material left behind a comet or, in the case of the Geminid shower, asteroid-comet 3200 Phaethon.

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An nearly absent moon will ensure that the meteors, widely regarded as the most impressive of the year, stand out brightly as they streak across the sky. You will be able to see at least one meteor per minute, or 60 meteors per hour.

Once thought to be an asteroid, Phaethon is now classified as an extinct comet.

If you are looking for an easy way to capture some meteors, you can shoot continuously with a wide angle lens like a (35mm equivalent) 14mm to 24mm lens so you can capture enough sky to capture those meteors as the streak across the sky.

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"The Geminids offer slow, brighter than average meteors with some having hints of color, reds and yellows", said Eric Vandernoot, astronomy and physics lab coordinator at Florida Atlantic University.

The Geminids meteor shower is considered the best meteor shower of the year because it is the most consistent and active annual meteor shower which can be seen from nearly any point on Earth. "Good rates will be seen between 7:30 p.m. on December 13 and dawn local time the morning of December 14, with the most meteors visible from midnight to 4 a.m. on December 14, when the radiant is highest in the sky". Then, give your eyes some time to adjust to the dark and start scanning the skies.

What sets the Geminids apart from other meteor showers is their point of origin.

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Skywatching is simple. Just get aside from lights and stare up in any direction!