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Geminid Meteor Shower 2018: Google Doodle unravels story behind spectacular light show in the sky

Geminid Meteor Shower 2018 on Google Doodle: For optimal viewing conditions, get as far away from city lights as possible and face South as you enjoy one of the greatest shows on—or above—Earth.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: December 14, 2018 8:42:25 am
The Geminid Meteor Shower 2018: Google Doodle unravels story behind tonight's spectacular light show in the sky Geminid Meteor Shower 2018 is brought to Earth’s atmosphere each December by an asteroid called Phaethon. (Source: Google doodle)

Geminid Meteor Shower 2018: Google Doodle Thursday marked the relevance of an asteroid, which brings the most spectacular meteor shower every year. The Geminid Meteor Shower 2018 will light up the sky on the night of December 13. The spectacular showers are brought to the Earth’s atmosphere every December by an asteroid called Phaethon, satellite data discovered 35 years ago. The asteroid named after Greek God Apollo’s son, 3200 Phaethon’s orbit brings it closer to our sun than Mercury. Since the 1800s, with every passing year, the escalation of yellowish streaks of light in the night-sky have only grown intense.

In 2017, the ‘rock comet’ came within 6.4 million miles of the planet, although last year’s supermoon made it difficult to appreciate the astronomical light show. If the weather remains clear, this year could be the best year yet to watch the Gemenides. The meteors are named because they seem to originate from the constellation Gemini.

Read more: Geminid Meteor Shower 2018: How to watch in India, timings, and dates

In order to witness the meteor shower today, there is no need for a telescope or binoculars; fragments from Phaethon’s debris trail will become visible after 9 pm, peaking a little after midnight, with as many as 120 meteors per hour. The comic dust may have resulted from a crash with another flying object, but there’s little danger of any Geminids landing on earth as it normally disintegrates in the earth’s atmosphere.

Watch video of Geminid Meteor Shower here:

Today’s Google Doodle follows the Geminid’s path through Earth’s atmosphere as it lights up the sky. As Phaethon’s orbit leads it near the sun, the extreme heat causes it to fracture and leaves a trail of debris in its orbital path. Every December, Earth’s orbit leads us through the trail of 3200 Phaethon and its debris crashes into our atmosphere at 79,000 miles (127,000 km) per hour. Once through the Earth’s atmosphere, the Geminids’ radiant (or where it appears to originate) is the constellation Gemini.

For optimal viewing conditions, get as far away from city lights as possible, face South, and remember to dress warmly as you enjoy one of the greatest shows on—or above—Earth.

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