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Meteor shower, Geminid to peak on Dec 13 and 14

Washington, Dec 13 (): A celestial light show of Geminid meteor shower will excite the sky watchers on Thursday night.  Geminid meteor shower, one of the two biggest showers of the year will be seen on the night of December 13 and 14.

C B Devgun, President of Science Popularisation Association of Communicators and Educators said that Geminids meteor shower are known for producing up to 100 multi-coloured meteors per hour at their peak. The point of origin of the shower lies in the direction of the constellation of Gemini, so they have been named Geminids.

While most the meteor showers come from comets, Geminids actually spawn from a weird rocky object named 3200 Phaethon. Of all the debris streams Earth passes through every year, the Geminids is by far the most massive.

3200 Phaethon was first discovered in the year 1983 by NASA’s IRAS satellite and initially classified as an asteroid. 3200 Phaethon was once the typical comet however, upon a lot of close encounters with the Sun, all of the snow/ice melted away, leaving a rocky cometary core hurtling through the solar system.

The show should start just after sunset local time across North America and continue until dawn. The main good news is that the moon will be in a new moon phase, so there will be no moon to ruin the show. The showers can be seen with a naked eye and no aid is required provided the sky is clear and not hazy.

And a Russian space scientist is predicting a new meteor shower might happen at the same time, giving sky-watchers a double dose of thrills. The second meteors shower comes from a comet discovered in 1948 named as Wirtanen, which may cause a new meteor shower. Wirtanen takes 5.4 years to orbit the sun. Astronomers have not named the new shower because they do not know if it will produce meteors.

The best time to view the shower is on December 14 at 5 am in the east. Those in areas not having view of the shower can watch a live stream at http://www.nasa.gov/connect/chat/geminids2012.html which will be available on NASA’s website both Dec. 13 and 14.

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