Geminids Meteor Shower 2022
It is time to check the nighttime sky. That is because the Geminids Meteor Shower is on now. The Geminids are widely regarded as the best meteor shower of the year. It started on the seventh and will run to the seventeenth with the peak viewing period coming on the night of December 13 and early morning hours of the 14th.
The Geminids are known for their multicolored meteors. And the predictions for this year are for up to 120 meteors per hour during the peak viewing period. The Geminids are also known to occasionally produce meteor “storms,” which would obviously be fun to see. There is, however, a waning gibbous moon during the peak viewing period, so that will interfere with some of the fainter meteors. The Geminids will appear to originate from the constellation Gemini, but they may be observed anywhere in the sky.
Unlike most meteor showers which are produced by debris from comets, the Geminids are produced by an asteroid (3200 Phaethon). And unlike many meteor showers that have been observed for centuries, the Geminids appeared rather suddenly in the mid-1800s. Research on the shower was subsequently conducted to document the strength, orbit, and size of the meteor shower, as well as the origin. What puzzled scientists was that no known comet could have been the source of the meteor shower, and by the mid-1900s, it became apparent that there must be some other source of the display.
It was not until 1983 that astronomers at the Palomar Observatory in California confirmed that the origin of the meteor shower was, in fact, an asteroid. That was the first scientifically proven connection between an asteroid and a meteor shower.
So, make an effort to check out the Geminids Meteor Shower periodically. And note that the Ursids Meteor Shower starts on the 17th and runs through the 25th. It will peak on the evening of the 21st and early morning hours of the 22nd. The Ursids are expected to produce only 5-10 meteors per hour, but we will be close to a new moon then, so it has the potential for putting on an interesting show.