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Geminid Meteor Shower

by Rod Hill

Bio | Email | Follow: @kgwrodhill

kgw.com

Posted on December 11, 2012 at 8:38 AM

As you know it can be nearly impossible for our area to view into the stars this time of the year.  With that said, we might get lucky Wednesday night - Thursday morning.  The Geminid meteor shower will peak between 1:00 - 3:00 a.m. this coming Thursday & Friday mornings.  Our best chance for a break in the cloud cover will be Thursday.  Scientists believe this year's shower will be impressive.  A new moon will darken the sky and aid visibility.  Astronomers say the meteor shower will produce 80 to 120 meteors per hour, reaching the Earth's atmosphere at speeds of 23 miles per second!

The Geminids are a relatively young meteor shower that originated as pieces of debris from asteroid 3200 Phaethon.  It does not develop a cometary tail when it passes near the Sun, but bits of it do break off during its journey past the Sun. When Earth passes through this debris, we experience the Geminid meteor shower. This shower was first noticed in 1862, and its intensity has been increasing over the past 100 years. Around 1900, the peak averaged 15-20 meteors per hour, but it is now more than 100 per hour.

KGW Meteorologist, Rod Hill

The above information is courtesy of Mr. Jim Todd, OMSI Director of Space Science

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