Meteor shower: Mark your calendar for 2022’s most powerful

Meteor shower: Mark your calendar for 2022's most powerful
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The best chance to see the strongest meteor shower of the year is on its way this week.

Known for its bright, intensely colored meteors, Gemini has been streaking across the night sky since late November, and the shower will peak on the night of December 13-14. According to the American Meteorological Society.

“If you had to single out one (meteor shower) as the best of the year, it would be Gemini,” said Robert Lunsford, coordinator of the fireball report. “Typically, from, say, the suburbs, under good conditions, you can probably see 30 to 40 meteors (an hour).”

With clear skies and no bright lights, Gemini can be seen at a rate of about 120 visible meteors per hour. According to NASA. But there’s no escaping the big beacon in the sky that will obscure most of the dimmer meteors this year: the Moon will shine at 72% full, According to the American Meteorological Society.

“Even with the moon, there’s still going to be a good shower,” said Bill Cooke, head of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office. “Find a decent dark sky, find something to block the moon, maybe a building or a tree, and look up at the sky away from the moon.”

Utah meteor explosion

Listen for the loud noise that officials believe is a meteor hitting the atmosphere


– Source: CNN

It was first observed in the mid-1800s. The shower initially delivered a maximum of 20 visible meteors per hour. Since then, the Twins have reappeared every year and become stronger in numbers. By the 1960s, the event had surpassed the important August Perseids, Heavy showers with hourly rates of 50-100 meteors once.

Cooke said it’s unclear how Gemini might change in the near future, with some models predicting the shower’s intensity will increase and others predict it will gradually decrease over the next few decades.

Gemini is unique in that its source is the 3,200 Phaethon asteroid, while most other meteor showers originate from debris from icy comets. That’s why Gemini streams can be unpredictable — because asteroid breakup is harder to model, Cooke said.

Asteroid 3200 Phaethon is unusual in itself, it behaves like a comet when it approaches the sun. It also has an orbit that completes every 1.4 years, making it closer to the sun than any other asteroid. 3200 When Phaethon is close to Earth, the asteroid sheds its dusty debris, so Gemini is visible.

Meteor over Texas

A meteor lights up the night sky in Texas and four other states


– Source: CNN

Gemini is active from November 19 to December 24. According to EarthSky, Their hourly rates don’t reach double digits until Dec. 10, Lunsford said.

The shower is known for being family friendly and A good choice for young viewers in North America to observe because it’s the only big shower with the most activity before midnight. Lunsford said the meteors are beaming from the constellation Gemini, which will rise at about 10 p.m. ET.

“You can observe when radiation is at its highest between 1 and 2 a.m. ET by moonlight, or you can try to look in the evening when the moon is still below the horizon,” Lunsford said. times will be fairly similar.”

Gemini will be visible from all over the world, but for the Southern Hemisphere, it’s best to view around midnight at 2 a.m. local time, as it must be at its peak to be visible. Lunsford said the position of the beam will be low on the horizon, causing the meteors to appear at low speeds.

According to NASA’s meteor camera data, Cooke is one of the best for producing meteorites, second only to the Perseids, the fireballs of the Geminid shower, brighter than the planet Venus. The largest and brightest Gemini meteors are often said to appear greenish in color.

Moonlighting has affected Gemini observation over the past two years, but so has the meteor shower Occurs around the new moon in 2023, creating perfect viewing conditions.

“When you see a meteor burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere, you’re seeing something that’s been in space for a very long time,” Cook said. “From a scientific point of view, by studying it, we can find out what these comets are made of. To the casual observer, they are a beautiful fireworks (display)—meteor showers are nature’s fireworks.”

The next and final major annual meteor shower of 2022 will be the Ursids, peaking on the evening of December 22. According to EarthSky.

fire ball st.  Louis

See the most visible fireballs from the ground


– Source: CNN

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