Buckle up — the year’s best meteor shower peaks on Friday

The Geminid meteor shower is slated to be even more impressive than this Perseid shower.

(Credit: NASA/JPL)

It’s time to break out the blankets and troop outside of city lights — the annual Geminid meteor shower will arrive toward the end of this week and promises to be a spectacular show.

Geminid meteor showers are the most vivid of all showers — full of fireballs and between 100 to 120 meteors per hour. They’re also viewable from any point on Earth. So, remember the Perseids shower in August? This one could be even better.

Most astronomers believe that the Geminid light show originates from the remnants and dust of a rocky object known as 3200 Phaethon — rather than from comets, like most meteor showers. Every year around mid-December the Earth passes this object’s debris, giving Earthlings the opportunity to witness the stunning showers. The 3200 Phaethon, which is 3.2 miles in diameter, is still a bit of a mystery to scientists.

“The Geminids are my favorite because they defy explanation,” NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office head Bill Cooke said in a statement. “Of all the debris streams Earth passes through every year, the Geminids are by far the most massive. When we add up the amount of dust in the Geminid stream, it outweighs … [Read more]

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