Advent is also the season of meteors: the annual Geminid meteor shower is approaching. On Thursday, the pre-Christmas spectacle will reach its peak with dozens of meteors appearing per hour.
Peak on December 14th
This year, Gemini will peak on December 14 around 8 p.m. The moon doesn’t bother you. According to the Friends of the Stars Association, their frequency generally increases as the night progresses, which is why they can be easily seen throughout the night. In the dark sky, observers can see about 50 meteors flashing every hour.
The experiment showed that the swarm, named after the constellation Gemini, produces many bright meteors. Dark places away from cities bathed in lights are best suited for observing celestial velocity movements before Christmas, but the brighter Geminids can also be seen in the skies of large cities. If you want to photograph a meteor shower, you should mount a camera with a wide-angle lens on a tripod and choose a long exposure.
The smells come from a cloud of dust that passes through our Earth in its orbit around the sun at the same time every year. Dust particles enter the Earth’s atmosphere, where they then produce luminous phenomena known as shooting stars.
However, in the case of Gemini, the origin of this dust cloud is unusual. As a rule, meteor showers originate from small remnants of comets, tailed stars that release dust as they approach the blazing sun, which then spreads across the comet’s orbit. For example, the origin of the Perseids lies in the cosmic dust trail of Comet Swift-Tuttle, which visits the Sun approximately every 130 years. The Geminid dust cloud is different: it does not come from a comet, but is clearly from a small asteroid, a small, fairly solid body in our solar system.
Slower than other meteorites
The Geminid asteroid is called Phaeton. It was not discovered until 1983. This asteroid likely broke up and left debris in its orbit, burning up as meteors as it entered Earth’s atmosphere. Scientists don’t agree on how a rocky body releases particles. The latest theories say that the body’s proximity to the sun is the reason. Thermal stresses are intended to create cracks so that the molecules eventually split.
Geminids have other special features. Stream meteors move relatively slowly across the sky. The reason is the low speed with which Gemini’s particles enter the atmosphere. Its speed is “only” 122,000 kilometers per hour – while in the Perseids its speed is 212,000 kilometers per hour.
The brightest comes last
Another peculiarity of the Geminids is that in the hours of meteor maximum, faint meteors light up first, and only then brighter meteors light up.
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