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Prepare for a show in the sky! The most spectacular falling stars of the year

On the night of 13th of December 2017, the Earth will pass through an area containing large amounts of cosmic dust left by the active asteroid 3200 Phaethon.

At the contact with the atmosphere, the dust particles will ignite the atmospheric gas, leaving a bright light in the sky: falling stars.

Most starring stars from December 4-17 seem to come from the Gemini constellation (Gemini), which is why they are called “Geminides”.

You can see a maximum number of 120 falling stars per hour if you are outside large cities.

geminid
geminid

Geminide meteors have something special: they are slower than other meteors and very bright. This will result in “balls” (very bright meteors) that will travel slowly through the stars. A dust particle of this current flows into the atmosphere at a speed of 35 km/s.

The falling stars are noticed without an astronomical instrument. Just look up to the sky!

The source of the Geminides is the Phaethon 3200 asteroid. A study in 2009 shows that Phaethon is a “solid comet” which, near to the Sun, releases dust.

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