Bad Timing for the Geminid Meteor Shower - NBC Southern California

Bad Timing for the Geminid Meteor Shower

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    VALLEY OF FIRE STATE PARK, NV - DECEMBER 14: A Geminid meteor streaks above one of the peaks of the Seven Sisters rock formation early December 14, 2010 in the Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada. The meteor display, known as the Geminid meteor shower because it appears to radiate from the constellation Gemini, is thought to be the result of debris cast off from an asteroid-like object called 3200 Phaethon. The shower is visible every December. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

    The usually reliable Geminid meteor shower peaks Tuesday night and can be seen Monday night as well.

    The problem this year is the meteors arrive at the same time as the full Supermoon. Most years on a clear night you can see 120 meteors per hour but the moon will hide all but the brightest streaks.

    In SoCal we’ll have partly cloudy Tuesday night and the Geminids are one of the rare showers that can be seen earlier in the night between 10 and 10:30 p.m. The peak though is between 2 and 4 a.m.

    All About Geminids 

    Did you know the Geminids are the only meteor shower that doesn’t come from dust by a comet?

    The streams are from the asteroid '3200 Phaethon.' This asteroid ejects fragments of rock, not dust. Since rock penetrates the atmosphere more than dust, the Geminids produce longer streaks.

    The Geminids get their name because they appear to originate, or radiate, from the constellation Gemini. The small pieces of rock strike the Earth’s atmosphere at 80,000 mph.

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