Photo: courtesy of StarDate.org
Trust us, you won’t want to miss this one. The Geminid meteor shower that will peak on December 13th and 14th. It is predicted to be the most intense meteor shower of the year.
The Best Part
The show is completely free and everyone in the northern hemisphere has front row seats! In fact, the shower will be able to be seen from almost any point on the globe. If you’ve never seen a shooting star, this will be an opportunity of a lifetime. Assuming a clear, dark night sky, you will be able to see over 100 shooting stars every hour!
What Causes A Meteor Shower
Most showers come from comets that spew meteorites into our atmosphere. However, Geminid showers are different. They are caused by a cloud of dusty debris that comes from a rocky asteroid called 3200 Pantheon. Some scientists theorize that this debris was was created when 3200 Pantheon got a little too close to the Sun and the intense heat broke apart the rock.
This month, the Earth will be moving directly through this steam of debris, which will result in a beautiful spectacle in the night sky. The Geminid stream is by far the most massive of the debris streams that the Earth passes through every year.
It’s true that you will not need any equipment to view the show (binoculars, telescopes, etc.), but it is recommended that you dress warmly and find a comfortable sport to watch. Maybe even bring out your sleeping bag!
Granted the skies are cloud-free, you will be in for one of nature’s greatest winter performances. Be sure to visit the StarDate website for high-resolution images and HD video.
- Geminid Meteor Shower Defies Explanation (NASA)
- Best Meteor Shower of 2010 Arrives Starting Dec. 13th (msnbc)