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‘Geminids Meteor Shower’

  • Category
    Geography
  • Published
    23rd Dec, 2020

The Geminids meteor shower, believed to be the strongest of the year, was active from December 4-December 20.

Context

The Geminids meteor shower, believed to be the strongest of the year, was active from December 4-December 20.

About

What is Geminids Meteor Shower?

  • The Geminids Meteor Shower is believed to radiate from the Gemini constellation, from where it gets the name.
  • The parent of the Geminids is 3200 Phaethon, which is arguably considered to be either an asteroid or an extinct comet.
    • Discovered on October 11, 1983, the asteroid is over 5 km in diameter and was named after the Greek myth of Phaethon, the son of Sun god Helios.
  • When the Earth passes through trails of dust, or meteoroids, left by 3200 Phaethon, that dust burns up in Earth's atmosphere, creating the Geminid meteor shower.
    • All meteors associated with a shower have similar orbits, and they all appear to come from the same place in the sky, which is called the
  • Geminids travel 35 km/s - which is over 1,000 times faster than a cheetah, about 250 times faster than the swiftest car in the world, and over 40 times faster than a speeding bullet.

Meteor shower

  • Meteors are bits of rock and ice that are ejected from comets as they manoeuvre around their orbits around the sun.
  • Meteor showers are witnessed when Earth passes through the trail of debris left behind by a comet or an asteroid.
  • When a meteor reaches the Earth, it is called a meteorite and a series of meteorites, when encountered at once, is termed a meteor shower.
  • As meteors fall towards the Earth, the resistance makes the space rocks extremely hot and, as meteorites pass through the atmosphere, they leave behind streaks of glowing gas that are visible to the observers and not the rock itself.

How it started?

  • The Geminids first began appearing in the mid-1800s. However, the first showers were not noteworthy with only 10 - 20 meteors seen per hour.
  • Since that time, the Geminids have grown to become one of the most major showers of the year.
  • During its peak, 120 Geminid meteors can be seen per hour under perfect conditions.
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