Geminids meteor shower to peak Dec. 13-14

Created from asteroid debris, they will be active until Dec. 24
A Geminid meteor as seen in a false-color image captured by NASA in 2011. (Source: NASA)
A Geminid meteor as seen in a false-color image captured by NASA in 2011. (Source: NASA)
Published: Dec. 12, 2021 at 8:04 PM CST
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(KSLA) — The annual Geminids, which usually is the strongest meteor shower of the year, will peak Monday and Tuesday.

KSLA Chief Meteorologist Jeff Castle has described it as one of the best shooting star displays of the year.

Jared Silverman, of KSLA’s sister station WAFB in Baton Rouge, concurs. “This is considered one of the best of the year, with multicolored meteors. Happy hunting,” Silverman says in a Facebook post.

Even so, reports, the famous meteor shower isn’t expected to be as spectacular this year because the peak arrives just a few days before a full moon. The American Meteor Society says the moon will be 78% full.

The Geminids, which often are bright and vibrantly colored, are one of the only meteor showers not generated by comet debris.

The meteors are believed to be created as the Earth passes through a trail of debris left behind by 3200 Phaethon, an asteroid that was discovered in 1983.

The debris enters Earth’s atmosphere at high speeds, creating streaks of bright light as the small pieces burn up.

Watchers could see up to 150 meteors an hour if their presence is not overpowered by moonlight, according to the American Meteor Society. “This is the one major shower that provides good activity prior to midnight as the constellation of Gemini is well placed from 2200 (10 p.m.) onward.”

The Geminids will be active until Dec. 24.

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