- (Photo: NASA/Jeff Berkes)
The Geminid meteor shower for December 2012 is set to offer a spectacular light show over Dec. 13 and Dec. 14, and is a meteor shower than can be seen in clear skies from around the globe. There are expected to be more than 100 meteors flashing through the night sky every hour, and is sure to be a show not to be missed. For those unable to get outside, or are blocked by cloudy skies, are able to watch online through free live stream provided by NASA (details below).
The December 2012 Geminid meteor shower follows some more well known meteor showers that have taken place throughout the year, including the amazing Perseids meteor shower, which took place in August.
The Geminids is a relatively new meteor shower, and was only first recorded around the 1830s.
Using equipment at that time only 20 meteors per hour were able to be seen, however, over the years the meteor shower has become more and more intense, peaking in recent years with as many as 100 to 150 meteors per hour.
Meteor experts are saying the best time to watch the meteor shower will be around 2 a.m. local time in the nights of Dec. 13 and Dec. 14. Earthsky has reported, "With no moon to ruin the show, 2012 presents a most favorable year for watching the grand finale of the meteor showers. Best viewing of the Geminids will probably be from about 1 a.m. to 3 a.m. on December 14."
Other advice being given to sky-gazers is to ensure you find a good dark viewing spot away from city lights and if in your back yard, you should turn off all the lights – the darker you can make it the more clearly you will be able to see the night sky.
The Geminid meteor shower is named is named after the constellation Gemini, as that is roughly the area in the sky where the meteor shower tends to appear.
This shower is different from most other meteor showers, and has been created from 3200 Phaethon – the left-overs of a larger comet that has shed much of its outer appearance over time. Therefore, the shower does not appear due to a comet's tail like most others, but with the particles associated with a rocky object, named 3200 Phaethon – which scientists have said is probably a chip from a nearby asteroid.
The lights flashing through the night sky are created by the meteors meeting the Earth's atmosphere as our planet passes through the trail of the comet, and as the comet's orbit moves in line near the Earth.
The Geminid meteor shower in December 2012 can be watched online through free live stream via the NASA satellite with a live stream provided by clicking HERE.