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The Year’s Best Meteor Shower Is Here, And The Geminids Are Better Than Ever

15 Dec 2017, 15:01 UTC
The Year’s Best Meteor Shower Is Here, And The Geminids Are Better Than Ever
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At its peak, the Geminids can unleash nearly 200 meteors per hour under ideal conditions over the entire sky. This composite of a fraction of the sky was taken during the peak of last year’s Geminids. Image credit: Starry Earth / Stars4all of flickr.If December’s best natural sky show seems to get better every year, it isn’t your imagination. It’s science, and it’s spectacular!Every year, the Earth travels some 940 million kilometers through space in its orbit around the Sun. Over the past years, decades, and centuries, comets and asteroids have traveled through the same region of our Solar System, leaving a trail of debris in orbit around the Sun. If the alignment is right, then once a year, the Earth will pass through that debris stream, creating a meteor shower when it does. The most spectacular ones of all occur in August (the Perseids), in December (the Geminids), and sometimes in November (when the Leonids are favorable). What you see varies from year-to-year, but this year’s Geminids just might be the most spectacular treat you’ve ever seen. If you have clear skies and a little bit of time on the night of the 13th/morning of the 14th, the Geminids ...

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