The Geminids’ meteor showers, one of December’s many cosmic attractions, are here!
Every year, the Geminids illuminate the night sky in the northern hemisphere, and this year is no exception. The showers in 2021 will light up the sky between 13 and 17 December.
The meteor showers peaked the night of December 13 until the early morning hours of December 14. And while they were most visible from the northern hemisphere, some other parts of the world also enjoyed the view.
Geminid meteor showers occur when the Earth passes through a dusty gravel path and debris left behind by the famous ‘rock comet’ named 3200 Phaethon. The small meteoroids left by this comet penetrate the Earth’s upper atmosphere and produce bright streaks of light in the dark sky. These ‘shooting stars’ appear to originate from the constellation Gemini, which gives the Gemini shower its name.
The Geminids were first observed in the early 1860s, but were initially noticed among the smaller meteor showers. However, they have since gradually strengthened to become the strongest annual shower, as Jupiter’s gravity has pulled them closer to Earth.
The meteors are known to produce multicolored meteors when they hit the Earth’s atmosphere, where white, flashing yellow, blue and green are the most frequently observed. Due to their size and relatively slow speed, there will be plenty of slow-moving fireballs on display under the shower.
“Observations show that the Geminids are denser than meteors belonging to other showers, enabling them to get as low as 29 miles above the Earth’s surface before burning up. Meteors belonging to other showers, such as the Perseids, burn a lot. higher up, ”the US space agency NASA said in a statement.
Between 60-70 Geminids are typically visible to the average viewer per hour, which is over one per minute. But sharp moonlight, other light pollution, clouds and poor air quality can affect visibility, especially at this time of year.
If you missed the top of those shooting stars on Monday night, do not despair! The showers in 2021 will be active until December 17th. In addition, several people from all over the world managed to get photos and videos of the annual event last night.
Here are some photos that the Khaleej Times shared from the annual Heavenly Show hosted by the Dubai Astronomy Group on Monday in the Al Qudra Desert:
A user from England captured a magnificent view of the Geminids:
Another network user from New Berlin tweeted a picture of a meteorite that crashed across the night sky:
This Southern Maine user recorded several shooting stars:
For on-the-go weather, science and COVID-19 updates, download Weather Channel apps (on Android and iOS Store). It’s free!