Meteor Shower: Mark your calendar with the strongest of 2022

Meteor Shower: Mark your calendar with the strongest of 2022

Meteor Shower: Mark your calendar with the strongest of 2022

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Your best chance to see the strongest meteor shower of the year is coming this week.

The Geminids, known for bright, richly colored meteors, have been sweeping across the night sky since late November and the rain will peak on the night of Dec. 13-14, according to the American Meteor Society.

“If I had to name one (meteor shower) as the best of the year, year after year, it would be the Geminids,” said Robert Lunsford, fireball report coordinator for the company. “Normally, let’s say from the suburban area, in good conditions, you could probably see 30 to 40 meteors (one hour).”

With clear skies and no bright lights, the Geminids can appear at a rate of about 120 visible meteors per hour, according to NASA. Still, there’s no escape from the big beacon in the sky that will obscure most of the fainter meteors this year: The moon will shine at 72 percent fullness, according to the American Meteor Society.

“It’s still going to be a nice shower, even with the moon on,” said Bill Cooke, head of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office. “Find a decently dark sky, find something blocking the moon, perhaps a building or tree, and look away from the moon at the sky.”

– Source:
CNN
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Hear for the loud boom that officials believe was a meteorite hitting the atmosphere

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– Source: CNN

First observed in the mid-1800s, the shower initially produced only 20 visible meteors per hour at most. Since then, the Geminids have reappeared every year, getting stronger in number. By the 1960s, the event had surpassed the substantial August Perseids, once the strongest shower with hourly frequencies of 50 to 100 meteors.

It’s unclear how the Geminids might change in the near future, Cooke said, with some models indicating rainfall will increase in intensity and others estimating a gradual decline over the next few decades.

The Geminids are unique in that their source is the asteroid 3200 Phaethon, while most other meteor showers arise from the debris of icy comets. That’s why Geminid streams can be unpredictable, because it’s harder to model asteroid breakups, Cooke said.

Asteroid 3200 Phaethon is unusual in its own right, behaving like a comet as it approaches the sun. It also has an orbit, which it completes about every 1.4 years, that is closer to the sun than any other asteroid. When 3200 Phaethon is close to Earth, the asteroid sheds its dusty debris, hence the Geminids display.

– Source:
CNN
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meteor over texas

Meteor lights up the night sky across Texas and four other states

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– Source: CNN

The Geminids are active from Nov. 19 to Dec. 24, according to EarthSky, but their hourly rates don’t start reaching double-digits until Dec. 10, Lunsford said.

The shower is known to be family friendly and good for young North American spectators to observe as it is the only large shower that shows the most activity before midnight. The meteors appear to be radiating from the constellation Gemini, which will rise in the sky around 10 p.m. ET, Lunsford said.

“You can observe when the radiant is at its greatest, which is between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. (ET) by moonlight, or you can try to see earlier in the evening when the moon is still below the horizon” Lunsford said. “Rates will probably be pretty similar at those times as well.”

The Geminids will be visible from all parts of the world, but for the Southern Hemisphere, it is best viewed towards the middle of the night at 2am local time, as the radiant will need to be at maximum to be seen. The location of the radiant will be low on the horizon and will also cause meteors to appear at a slower speed, Lunsford said.

According to data from NASA’s meteor camera, the Geminids shower is among the best at producing fireballs, brightest meteors on the planet Venus, second only to the Perseids, Cooke said. The largest and brightest Geminid meteors are often said to appear greenish in color.

Moonlighting has affected viewing of the Geminids for the past couple of years, but the meteor shower is expected to occur around a new moon in 2023, making for perfect viewing conditions.

“When you see a meteor burning up in Earth’s atmosphere, you’re seeing something that’s been in space for a long time,” Cooke said. “From a scientific point of view, by studying it, we can learn something about what makes up those comets. To the casual observer, they are quite a firework (show): Meteor showers are nature’s fireworks.

The next and last major annual meteor shower of 2022 will be the Ursids, peaking on the evening of Dec. 22, according to EarthSky.

– Source:
CNN
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fireball st.  Louis

See the most visible fireballs from the earth

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– Source: CNN

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