Dec 4 (TruthDive): The Geminid Meteor Shower 2013 has already started to light up the sky with a remarkable display from Tuesday, December 3 and the meteor shower is expected to peak during the middle of this month, December 13 and 14.
The fast and bright Geminids shoot out of the sky in mid-December every year. Being the final major celestial event of the year, Geminids are considered to be one of the best and most reliable annual meteor showers. Spectators describe this meteor shower as the “finest meteors of the year”.
National Geographic report on the Geminid meteor shower say sky watchers can expect the slow increase of shooting stars with approximately 5 to 10 meteors visible per hour in the dark sky. Further, Geminids is different from other meteor showers as the Geminid meteors are created by tiny bits of rocky debris that originate from small asteroid named 3200 Phaethon, which is in a highly elliptical 1.4 year orbit. Over the centuries these tiny rock bits have spread all along the asteroid’s orbit to form a thin, moving “river of rubble” hundreds of millions of miles long.
The point of origin of the shower appears to lie in the direction of the constellation of Gemini, from which the meteor derives its name Geminids.
The Earth every year during mid-December passes through these debris trails, which allows the bits to enter the atmosphere where they disintegrate to create fiery and colourful streaks in the sky.
This year, the meteor shower will be active from December 3 through December 17, with the peak activity occurring on December 13 and December 14. NASA’s website says Geminids are best viewed during the night starting around 9 or 10 pm and pre-dawn hours and are visible across the globe due to a nearly 24-hour broad maximum.
Unfortunately, this year is not very favourable for watching the Geminids as the peak of the meteor showers will coincide with the Waxing Gibbous Moon (93% full).