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December 14, 2010

Geminids meteor shower still visible tonight

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by Darren Allan

While the best show of the Geminids meteor shower – the last major meteor shower of 2010 – was last night, you can still catch it tonight.

The shower actually peaks at around 5pm today, so there should still be plenty of action tonight if you want to brave the cold night air. Just keep your fingers crossed that it isn’t cloudy – unlike last night, where we were.

And of course, the more remote the area you’re in, and the further away from any sources of light pollution, the better.

The Royal Observatory at Greenwich notes on its blog that the Geminids is a stream of debris left behind by an asteroid, 3200 Phaethon. The shooting stars you see (or don’t see, in our case last night) are these fragments burning up as they hit the Earth’s atmosphere.

You should see a couple of meteors per minute, although that might tail off as the night goes on. The meteors in the shower appear to come from the constellation Gemini, hence the name Geminids.

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