Sure it’s fun to observe stars, planets, asteroids, and several other astronomical objects. However, there is something that is even more beautiful than any other astronomical object. And those are the meteor showers that occur numerous times throughout the year. Sure enough, we all know about meteor showers, but did you know that most meteor showers are periodic. This means that you can view these showers every year. One such similar meteor shower coming soon is the Geminids meteor shower.
Geminids meteor shower: Origin
When you read the name Geminids meteor shower you might have guessed that it is associated with the Gemini constellation. Well, you aren’t completely wrong and neither are you completely right. The Geminids meteor shower is named after the Gemini constellation as it radiates from it, or in other words, the radiant of the said meteor shower is the Gemini constellation. The radiant of any meteor shower is the place in the sky where the meteor shower seems to appear or originate from. The parent body of the Geminids meteor shower is believed to be the 3200 Phaethon, which is considered to be an Apollo (near-Earth) asteroid.
Well, now that we know about the existence of this meteor shower let’s take a look at some facts about the Geminids meteor shower.
- Year of discovery – 1862
- Date of occurrence – December 4 to December 17
- Speed of the meteor shower – 35 km/s
- Hourly rate (Zenithal) – Approximately 120 meteors per hour
- Disintegration height – 39 km
- Color of the meteor – glowing white, yellow, red, green, and blue
Other than these, there are some more amazing facts about this shower. For instance, it is one of the few meteor showers that can be viewed from the southern as well as the northern hemisphere.
As mentioned earlier the Geminids were first discovered just about 200 years ago. But unlike today when we can view as many as 120 meteors every year, back then the zenithal hourly rate of the same meteor shower was just 10-12. And if you thought that these were first discovered through some telescope then you are wrong. In fact, the first-ever recorded observation of this meteor shower is believed to have come from a riverboat from the Mississippi River.
As you can see starting from the zenithal hourly rate of 10-12, today we can observe this meteor shower with a zenithal hourly rate of 120, thus proving the fact that this meteor shower is just getting stronger as the years go by. Researchers believe that the credit for this goes to the planet Jupiter whose gravity has attracted the dust and debris closer to our planet, thus making it easier for us to have an amazing and more prominent view of the meteor shower.
As we know by now, the Geminids meteor shower originates from the asteroid 3200 Phaethon. Some theorize that during its younger years the asteroid 3200 Phaethon got caught in the orbit of the planet Saturn which has now made it possible for it to pass by Earth’s vicinity every year and thus making it possible for us to see the Geminids meteor shower. These are also some of the few meteor showers that can reach deep into the Earth’s atmosphere. This results in beautiful arcs caused by the burning of the meteor which lasts for about 1 to 2 seconds and thus results in a beautiful view.
Tips for viewing
The best hours to view the Geminids are during predawn and the night hours and can be viewed from across the globe. These showers attract many young viewers as it starts as early as 9 to 10 PM hence making it very time friendly for the younger audience. The meteor shower is best visible once your eyes are adapted to darkness. To do so you can go and lie down or just sit in the location you have chosen for viewing the shower an hour ago. This will give your eyes plenty of time to adapt to the darkness and thus give you the best view.
Apart from this, the location where you choose to see these showers is very important. Hence, it is important to go to a location that is away from the city lights and has as much open sky as possible, to give you the best view. Worried you might not be able to locate the shower in the open sky? Well, that must be the least of your concern. All you need to do is locate the Gemini constellation as it is the radiant point of the Geminids meteor shower. Once you locate it, you will have zero difficulty and worries about missing the meteor shower.
I hope that after reading this you are well versed with all the details about the Geminids meteor shower and the tips for viewing it. Cheers to hoping that you have a wonderful time witnessing the meteor shower. If you are interested in viewing this event but don’t have any company or are finding it difficult to search for a proper location, don’t worry as we have got your back!. Stargazing Mumbai is organizing an event for viewing the meteor shower on the 11th of December 2021. So what are you waiting for? Visit our website, register for the event, and book your place in witnessing this beautiful astronomical event.
Enjoyed reading this? Sign up for our event now! For more information on the event, visit Geminids meteor shower 2021