The Geminid meteor shower peaks over the northern hemisphere tonight, providing a dazzling display of celestial wonder. Watch meteors showers observed in the skies over Daytona Beach, Florida, during the 2018 Geminid shower by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center.
The Geminid meteor shower gets its name from its proximity to the constellation Gemini's namesake stars, Castor and Pollux the Gemini twins. Space.com columnist Joe Rao agreed, citing in his column the nice timing of this year's Geminids: the crescent moon will set around 10:30 p.m. local time and will not interfere with any brilliant meteors.
For optimal viewing conditions, the sky must be clear, get as far away from city lights as possible, and face south.
Of course, that's all if you're in the countryside.
An excuse to ditch our phones and stargaze? Phaethon is a unusual blue asteroid that scientists named after its namesake- the Greek God Apollo's son.
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Meteor showers are named by the constellation that they may have originated from, thus the name Geminids, which probably originated from the constellation Gemini.
The winter meteor shower made its annual appearance this week.
According to NASA, the first Geminid meteor shower was spotted in 1862, surprising astronomers.
But it has an eccentric orbit that looks more like that of a comet than an asteroid and brings it well inside the orbit of Mercury, the closest planet to the Sun, every 1.4 years. The debris shed by 3200 Phaethon crashes into Earth's upper atmosphere at extremely high speed, to vaporize as colorful Geminid meteors.
"The secret behind this shower is that its source is not actually a comet, but likely a rock comet or the nucleus of a dead comet-which means we are getting rocky bits that are blown off with interactions with the sun", Rodgers explains.
Under ideal conditions, one should theoretically be able to see up to 100 meteors per hour at this time, NASA said. "One of the great things about this shower is that you don't necessarily have to rise at 2 a.m.to see it".