What are Geminids?

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What are Geminids? Blog Image


In 2022, the Geminids will peak around December 13-14.

About Geminids Meteor Shower:

  • Geminids comes from the constellation Gemini, from whose location in the sky the meteor shower appears to originate.
  • The constellation for which a meteor shower is named only serves to aid viewers in determining which shower they are viewing on a given night.
  • The constellation is not the source of the meteors.
  • If their peak coincides with the new moon, and if the weather is clear, the Geminids can produce approximately 100-150 meteors per hour for viewing.
  • This year however, the moon is bright, and so only 30-40 meteors per hour will be visible in the Northern Hemisphere.
  • The Geminids are unique because unlike most meteor showers, they originate not from a comet, but from an asteroid, the 3200 Phaethon.

3200 Phaethon:

  • The 3200 Phaethon was discovered on October 11, 1983.
  • It is named after the Greek mythology character Phaethon, son of the Sun God Helios.
  • It takes 1.4 years to complete one round of the Sun.
  • As the 3200 Phaethon moves close to the Sun while orbiting it, the rocks on its surface heat up and break off.
  • When the Earth passes through the trail of this debris, the Geminids are caused.

What causes meteor showers?

  • Meteors are usually fragments of comets.
  • As they enter the Earth’s atmosphere at high speed, they burn up, creating a spectacular “shower”.
  • Meteors come from leftover comet particles and bits from asteroids.
  • When these objects come around the Sun, they leave a dusty trail behind them.
  • Every year Earth passes through these debris trails, which allows the bits to collide with our atmosphere where they disintegrate to create fiery and colorful streaks in the sky.



Q1) What is the difference between Asteroid and Comet?

Well, they're all planetary objects orbiting the Sun. An asteroid is a small, rocky object mostly found in a ring between the orbit of Mars and Jupiter called the asteroid belt. A comet also orbits the Sun, but unlike an asteroid, it's composed of ice and dust. 


Q2) What is the difference between a meteoroid, meteor and a meteorite?

A meteoroid is a small piece of asteroid or a comet, typically pebble-sized, but could be a little smaller or a little larger, often created from a collision.When a meteoroid gets close to the Earth and enters the Earth's atmosphere, it's called a meteor. And when a meteor enters the Earth's atmosphere at a very high speed, it burns up and produces a streak of light called a shooting star. And if a meteor survives the burn and lands on the ground, it's called a meteorite.


Source: Indian Express