This Weekend's Geminid Meteor Shower Will be the Last of the Decade

Tuesday, 10 December 2019 - 3:20PM
Tuesday, 10 December 2019 - 3:20PM
This Weekend's Geminid Meteor Shower Will be the Last of the Decade
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NASA/JPL
It's been a wild decade – I will spare you my political meanderings and further speculation that humanity will soon be wiped from the Earth by an interdimensional deity – and an even wilder year, so what better way to celebrate the birth of the '20s than with a Fare-Thee-Well to 2019 in the form of yet another meteor shower? The obvious answer is drinking copious amounts of champagne until someone nudges you awake sometime after the next election, but if you prefer the astronomical to the alcoholic, you need only look at the skies this weekend when the Geminid meteor shower will be at peak visibility in the (hopefully) clear winter skies.


The Geminid meteors are the sparkling remnants of the asteroid Phaethon 3200, and, as their name suggests, appear to come from the constellation Gemini (easily locatable thanks to its proximity to Orion). The Geminids, which are partially visible now, can usually be counted on for a great light show, but this year they will be competing with the year's final full moon, which will still be large and bright on December 13th and 14th, which is when the shower will be peaking. According to the American Meteor Society, however, that may not be a bad thing, as it means that only the very brightest and most colorful meteors will be visible. 


Imagine that: the decade ending with something that isn't an astronomical disappointment.





Science
Astronomy