The geminids: when and where to see the last great rain of stars of 2018 – BBC News


It will be the last rain of stars of the year and will be visible in most of the American continent.

These are the geminids, one of the largest rains of this type that occurs every year and can be seen at a glance both in the north and in the south of the planet.

Although it is called a "star" shower, it is actually a meteor that burns as it enters the Earth's atmosphere.

In the case of geminids, named after the constellation of Gemini in which they are visible, they are especially bright and fast, In addition, they tend to look yellow color.

They have their maximum concentration every year in December and this year the fall period is from 7 to 17, with peak activity in the first hours of the 13th and 14th.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) considers them one of the best and most notable visible meteor showers on Earth.

A rain of precious stones
Geminides are especially bright, with a rapid drop and a characteristic yellow color.

But until a while back they were not like that.

"Geminids began to appear in the mid-nineteenth century, however, the first rains were not as remarkable, with only 10 to 20 meteors visible per hour," NASA explains.

"Since then, the stones have become one of the most important rains of the year. You can see 120 meteors per hour in perfect conditions"he adds.

How to see them?

The far places of the cities are the best to observe this and any rain of stars.

In the case of geminides on Thursday and Friday, NASA recommends wait for the moon to setbecause its light makes the smallest meteors, which are the most numerous, almost invisible.

"Find the darkest place you can and Give your eyes about 30 minutes to adapt to the darkness. Avoid looking at your phone as this will ruin your night vision, "says the recommendation.

It is best to find a comfortable place to lie down and look at the sky with attention and patience.

The largest number of gemmids is expected early in the morning, around 2:00 AM, when there are normally as many as 100 meteors per hour.

Image of comet Wirtanen
Comet Wirtanen may also be visible in the constellation Taurus, if conditions permit.

However, NASA indicates that it is common to see between 30 or 40 meteors per minute in places with adequate conditions, such as a field without cloud cover, away from urban centers.

"Light and dark skies are the most important ingredient in meteor showers."

This year there will be an additional gift, for there will be a small "ghostly" green light in the constellation Taurus that will be Comet 46P / Wirtanen which approaches the Earth.

Its strange origin

The Earth passes each year through a path full of debris thrown "by a strange and rocky object" called 3200 Phaeton, explains NASA.

Dust and sand burn when they enter Earth's atmosphere, which is visually seen as a flood of "falling stars".

Although this is clear to scientists, it is not the origin of Phaeton.

It was described as an asteroid near Earth or as an extinct comet.

3200 Phaeton
The 3200 Phaeton was discovered in mid-1983.

"There is another object, an Apollo-type asteroid called 2005 UD, which is in an orbit dynamically similar to Phaethon, which generates speculations that the two were part of a larger body that separated or collided with another asteroid"explains NASA on its website.

Geminids may be the debris of this collision event a long time ago, experts at detailed space agencies.



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