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Geminids meteor shower set to peak Wednesday night

12 December 2017

For stargazers and the general public, the Geminid meteor shower is important for being not only the last major meteor shower of the year but also one of the most impressive.

The Geminids peak every year around this time in mid-December, but many fail to notice them because it's not only a busy time of year, it's also chilly for us northern hemisphere dwellers.

But for the next few days, we're hoping the skies remain cloud free because thousands of shooting stars are set to rain down on Planet Earth.

"With August's Perseids covered by bright moonlight, the Geminids will be the best shower of this year", stated Bill Cooke with NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office.

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They're not actually stars, of course, but meteors made of dust and grit that light up as they slam into Earth's atmosphere and disintegrate into fiery streaks. The shower will remain overnight December 13-14 with rates approximately one per minute under suitable circumstances, according to Cooke. This year, a crescent moon will leave a relatively dark sky for the shower to populate with light. "It's either a near-Earth asteroid or an extinct comet, sometimes called a rock comet". Therefore scientists call a Meteor shower, the Geminids, the most striking among the starbursts. In the southern hemisphere, you will have a subdued but still lovely show because Gemini doesn't rise very high above the local horizon.

The meteors in the shower appear to come from the constellation Gemini, which is where they got their name.

If you can't get away from light pollution, don't worry: You'll still be able to see meteors, just at a slower rate. When you already know the best date and time to witness the meteor shower in India, the next question that comes to the mind is where to see it. Meteors rise all across the sky.

Things do improve in the early hours of the morning which could mean that you have a flawless window within which to catch a glimpse of the phenomenon without getting completely soaked. When you see a good Geminid, you know it.

Geminids meteor shower set to peak Wednesday night