Chance to See Hundreds of Shooting Stars During Geminid Meteor Shower

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It's known to be one of the most active meteor showers of the year.

"Meteors are a bit like buses - you'll wait ages for them to come along and then all of a sudden a whole bunch will come at once", Dr Musgrave said.

To increase the chances of seeing meteors, choose a site at least 40 miles from a major city, Astronomy.com said.

The Geminid meteor shower is named after the constelation Gemini because that is the area of sky where meteors usually originate from, but you can see them anywhere in the sky. Observers in the Southern Hemisphere can still enjoy the Geminids meteor shower.

The shower radiates from a point in the constellation of Gemini, which is about two handspans above the northern horizon in the early morning. A meteor a minute is certainly nothing to complain about.

This year, Royal Observatory Greenwich is expecting up to 75 meteors an hour during the peak of the Geminids shower.

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In 2016, the luminous glow of a full moon obscured the zippy Geminids, but this year the moon is in its crescent phase, a slender slice of light in the sky that shouldn't interrupt the show.

The meteor shower was named after the constellation Gemini because numerous meteors appear to come from that constellation.

The Geminid maximum also coincides with a bright return of its parent asteroid, 3200 Phaethon.

The meteors tend to peak around 2 a.m. local time, but can be seen as early as 9 to 10 p.m.

"Which when you think the Earth is 150 million kilometres from the Sun, that's really close and therefore that's why it gets really hot", Dr Horner said. But December's Geminids are different, because Earth is passing through the debris of an asteroid: Phaethon.

"Phaethon's nature is debated", said Cooke. Wednesday night the sky will be darker, making it easier to see the shooting stars.

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