The annual Geminid meteor shower is happening now. It is most the active between Dec. 13th and 14th December 2010. It can be watched by meteor lovers until the 16th December. In my opinion it is one of the greatest celestial events this calander year. I hope that other fellow stargazers in the northern hemisphere have the right conditions to enjoy this wonderful show.
The Geminids are particularly unique. As earth orbits the sun it passes through a dusty stream left by the rocky solar object, 3200 Phaethon. The amount of dust in the Geminids stream is much greater than other streams. While most meteor’s come from little dusty comets burning in the earth’s atmosphere. In this particular instance, 3200 Phaethon spews very little dust, but paradoxically gives us a spectacular shower nevertheless.
Most meteor showers come from comets. The Geminids are different. The parent is not a comet but a strange rocky object named 3200 Phaethon. What is paradoxical is that while 3200 Phaethon is very small, its dusty residue is a lot bigger. Discovered in 1983 by NASA was quickly classified as an asteriod, and has been the object of some research.
On any given night the observant night watcher can expect to see one or too shooting stars from the heavens above. But if you drag yourself to observe the annual Geminid meator shower then up to 20 ‘stars’ per hour can be enjoyed. Hence, has become one of the northern hemispheres most anticipated events. On a clear night sky you wont be disappointed.
A meteor shower is best viewed from a moonless night sky. Away from the glare of city light’s. Any stargazer can enjoy as little astomonical equipment is necessary to see this delightful event. So if the condtions are right, good luck. I hope you see a shooting star, and please remember to make a wish