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Got a clear sky tonight? Please go out and see if the Geminids are ... [View All]

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bettyellen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-13-04 02:00 AM
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Got a clear sky tonight? Please go out and see if the Geminids are ...
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cooking yet... Look in the eastern sky near gemini for a meteor shower .....
last year i saw them much better the night before peak so, i thought i'd give you night owls with clear skys a chance in case mon night is cloudy. like it is here tonight.

The next exciting event, exactly one week later, will be the Geminid meteor shower, which peaks early the morning of Tuesday, Dec. 14. Start watching for these meteors by 10 p.m. the night before; Gemini, the seeming source of these meteors, will have cleared the eastern horizon by that time. The moon will be just two days past new, so it will not interfere with this wonderful show. With up to 75 meteors per hour, this likely will be the best meteor shower of the year.

Each meteor shower is unique and has its own characteristics, but the Geminids are a real enigma. The only shower not caused by a comet, the dust and debris that becomes the Geminids comes from an asteroid, 3200 Phaethon. The Geminids tend to be much brighter meteors because debris from the asteroid is denser than the extremely friable cometary debris.

The best current theory says 3200 Phaethon is probably an extinct comet that gathered a thick crust of interplanetary dust grains; although we wont know for sure until we visit this nearby asteroid in person, which probably will be at least 50 years in the future. For now, just be happy to enjoy this mysterious meteor shower with a twist.
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