Nearly time for the Geminid Meteor Shower

The asteroid, a three-mile-wide rock called 3200 Phaethon, will remain a comfortable 6.4 million miles away.

Once the meteors break out into the sky from their radiant point near the Gemini constellation, they will dash in every direction imaginable.

"Phaethon has to be swinging inwards towards the Sun just as Earth is in the right place to cross [under] its orbit", Dr Horner said.

Last year's meteor shower was overpowered by the super moon.

This year, Royal Observatory Greenwich is expecting up to 75 meteors an hour during the peak of the Geminids shower.

This year is especially good because the moon will be a thin crescent, so moonlight should not interfere.

"The Geminids offer slow, brighter than average meteors with some having hints of color, reds and yellows", said Eric Vandernoot, astronomy and physics lab coordinator at Florida Atlantic University.

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According to Sky and Telescope, the Geminids are only behind August's Perseids when it comes to fireballs.

"Stay warm and have a deck chair handy".

Folks across the north-central and northeastern US will have to bundle up, as some of the coldest temperatures of the year are expected Wednesday night, AccuWeather said.

The best viewing conditions on Wednesday night will be across the southern and western USA, where cloud-free conditions are expected.

December's robust Geminids are known to throw as many as 120 bright meteors per hour and can be viewed during the evening hours as well as predawn.

Folks not able to watch the meteor shower on Wednesday night can go outside on Tuesday night or Thursday night to try to spot a few meteors, but there will not be as many as Wednesday night.

"Meteors are a bit like buses - you'll wait ages for them to come along and then all of a sudden a whole bunch will come at once", Dr Musgrave said.
"This is due to Jupiter's gravity nudging the stream closer to Earth".


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