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Magnificent Geminid meteor shower to light up UAE sky

Magnificent Geminid meteor shower to light up UAE sky

How many meteors will you see?

This poster made by National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand offers viewing tips for the meteor shower.

Telescope owners can also catch a glimpse of 3200 Paethon, the 5km-wide asteroid responsible for the meteors. The dust and grit burn up when they run into Earth's atmosphere in a flurry of "shooting stars". The peak of the Geminid, which is considered to be one of the most prolific meteor showers of the year, is after dark on December 14.

The Geminids are named for the constellation Gemini, the point from which the meteors seem to radiate. Rocks and dust particles that are about to collide with Earth's atmosphere are called meteoroids and those that enter the Earth's atmosphere are called meteors.

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Geminid meteors are bright and fast (79,000 mph), and the shower is famous for producing fireballs, which are meteors brighter than magnitude -4, the same magnitude as the planet Venus. The asteroids that cross the Earth's orbit are called Apollo Asteroids. Geminids can be seen on nights before and after the December 14 peak, although they will appear less frequently. The shower is supposed to be at its maximum around 2 am on December 14, 2017.

While this isn't particularly exciting, because the moon is a waning crescent, the sky will be fairly dark, so conditions will be very good for sighting shooting stars.

The meteor shower will start around 10 pm and will be visible in the northeastern sky, above the Orion constellation. However, one must ensure that they are away from the city lights to enjoy a more spectacular and clearer view. And if it's cloudy where at your place, NASA will broadcast the Geminid shower live via Ustream starting at dusk December 13 from the Automated Lunar and Meteor Observatory at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. You won't need binoculars or a telescope because the individual meteors are bright enough to see with your unaided eye.