December 12, 2012
Most Spectacular Meteor Shower Of The Year Quickly Approaching
[ Watch the Video: What is a Meteor? ]
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
The Geminids meteor shower is expected to be an amazing display of natural fireworks and is expected to start on December 13 and 14, ending the year with a bang.
The Taipei Astronomical Museum says that the meteor shower will outshine all other meteor showers that have taken place this year.
No moonlight will interfere with the meteor shower either, helping to make the Geminids display 120 meteor per hour during the show. Seasoned sky-watchers say that the best time to watch the meteor shower will be in the early morning of December 14.
"With no moon to ruin the show, 2012 presents a most favorable year for watching the grand finale of the meteor showers", experts at the museum said in a statement.
In order to watch the meteors, you need to find a dark spot with an open view of the sky and no glaring lights nearby.
"The Geminids are usually one of the two best meteor showers of the year,” Alan MacRobert, senior editor at Sky & Telescope magazine, said in a statement. "They may beat out the Perseids of August."
This meteor shower is created by tiny bits of rocky debris shed from a small asteroid named 3200 Phaethon. The bits have spread along the asteroid's orbit to form the debris for a tail that is hundreds of millions of miles long.
Earth's orbit around the Sun carries us through this stream of particles every mid-December, making the Geminids meteor show an annual event.
According to SkyandTelescope.com, the debris is traveling at 22 miles per second, so when one of them strikes Earths atmosphere, it is vaporized by air friction, creating the flaming streak across the sky.
Viewers will also be able to get a sneak peek of the shower during the nights of December 11, 12, and 14.