How to watch the Geminids, 2017's best meteor shower, this week

Sparta Police Officer captures meteor on dash camera

Sparta Police Officer captures meteor on dash camera

The Geminids meteor shower is due to peak on Wednesday night, as our planet passes through the biggest swath of a trail of cosmic debris left over by a long-extinct comet.

Known as 3200 Phaethon, the three-mile-wide object was discovered in 1983 by two British scientists examining Nasa satellite images and initially classified as an asteroid.

Geminids can be seen in nighttime before and after the December 14 peak, although they will seem less often.

But those of you who can bundle up and courageous the cold - and if the skies are clear - it will be possible to see upwards of 120 "shooting stars" an hour, as they bolt across the sky at a blazing 35 km per second.

The greatest intensity of a meteor shower will be at the night from 13 to 14 December. The Moon will be a barely-there waning crescent.

"They are not a very speedy meteor and, because they are not travelling as swiftly through the Earth's atmosphere, these ones can take on a bit of a yellowish or orangey glow to them", Florian said.

"Phaethon's nature is questioned", said Cooke.

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When rocks and dust particles from space are about to collide with Earth's atmosphere are called meteoroids.

Compare the times of year when the Geminid (December) and Persied (August) meteor showers occur and it may be clear why it seems more people are familiar with the Persieds.

"The shower will start at around 10 pm on December 13 when the Gemini constellation will be visible in the north-eastern sky, a little above and right of the familiar Orion constellation", Duari said. Give your eyes time to settle in the dark.

Meteor showers don't require binoculars or telescopes to view - just your bare eyes. "Meteors appear all over the sky", NASA stated.

Things do improve in the early hours of the morning which could mean that you have a ideal window within which to catch a glimpse of the phenomenon without getting completely soaked.

Wednesday is expected to be rainy and wintry, so it's not looking hopeful for anyone who wants to see the Geminids at their peak.

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