Though Phaethon's orbit around the Sun takes 1.4 years, Earth passes through Phaethon's river of debris every December, which ultimately produces the handsome Geminid shower we have grown to know and love.
NASAGeminids 2017 The bright meteors are fragments of Asteroid 3200 Phaethon
You can watch the meteorite shower online as NASA has arranged live broadcast of shooting stars on its online website NASA tv. Expect to see meteors at a rate of about one per minute, says Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office.
Upwards of 60 meteors an hour burst out over Earth when the shower peaked between Wednesday December 13 and Thursday December 14.
When is the Geminids meteor shower this year? The sky should be clear enough Wednesday night that meteors will be visible before then. The debris burns up when it runs into the Earth's atmosphere in a spate of "shooting stars", Cooke said.
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The bright artificial lights of the city screw up the celestial view so the darkest spot you can find is your best bet, like an unlit field. The New Hampshire Astronomical Society recommended that people dress up for much colder weather than it actually is, because sitting and watching the sky doesn't generate much body heat.
The ideal time to view this shower will be between 7:30 PM on December 13th until the early morning of December 14th. If you remember high school physics, you know heat makes molecules move, so Phaethon lets out a massive gasp of dust. But there's no need to look directly at Gemini to see the meteors.
Not all of the meteors visible during the same time will belong to the Geminid shower.
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"They can be seen with the naked eye so there's no need for binoculars or a telescope, though you will need to adjust your eyes to the dark".
But if you are a constellation aficionado, don't focus mainly on the Gemini constellation.
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