THE BIGGEST meteor shower of 2020 reached its peak brightness in the early hours of this morning.
Stargazing photographers were able to capture some stunning shots of the fireballs that can glow in lots of different colours.
Geminid meteors over Broadway Tower in Worcestershire, UKCredit: Bav Media
One of the meteors glowed green over the Isle of WightCredit: Christopher Cockroft/pictureexclusive.com
The Geminids can produce 150 multicoloured meteors per hour.
They can look yellow, blue, red and even green.
Meteor minerals determine which colour they glow as they burn up in our atmosphere.
Iron, a common meteor element, glows yellow.
This shot was captured over Northumberland this morningCredit: Bav Media
Meteors can glow in lots of different colours depending what they’re made of
The Geminid meteor shower is the biggest of 2020Credit: Bav Media
A green meteor would have a lot of nickel in its outer layer that’s being vaporised in Earth’s atmosphere.
The shower will continue on for a few more days until December 17.
It might be harder to get some photos like these but you may still see a few faint shooting stars to make a wish on.
You can still try and spot them up until December 17Credit: Christopher Cockroft/pictureexclusive.com
The Gemind meteor shower happens every year from around December 4 to 17Credit: DMK/pictureexclusive.com
How to watch the Geminid meteor shower
Hunting for meteors can be a bit of a waiting game but the Geminid meteors are great because they tend to move slowly across the sky.
You should go to a place with minimal light pollution for the best chance to see some.
You should be able to spot the Geminids with your own eyes but a telescope or binoculars to zoom in on the Gemini constellation may help.
The meteors appear to radiate from the bright star Castor within the constellation, it’s one of the brightest stars in the sky.
The Geminids can look spectacular with clear skiesCredit: Christopher Cockroft/pictureexclusive.com
The shower is technically going on between December 4 and 17 so if one evening is too cloudy there is still a chance to look another day.
Stargazers in the Northern Hemisphere should get a better view although in the Southern Hemisphere dwellers will still be able to spot them.
It’s often referred to as the King of Meteor Showers because it is one of the best displays of the year.
The meteor shower occurs every year in mid-December without fail so is a staple in the calendar of keen astronomers.
The flying space rocks actually originate from a mysterious and crumbing 19,000ft asteroid called 3200 Phaethon.
As the asteroid passes Earth, debris from it scatters in space.
We then spot this as bright flashes each December.
The rock debris burns up in the Earth’s atmosphere at a speed of around 80,000 miles per hour.
We call this fiery vaporisation a shooting star.
What’s the difference between an asteroid, meteor and comet?
Here’s what you need to know, according to Nasa…
- Asteroid: An asteroid is a small rocky body that orbits the Sun. Most are found in the asteroid belt (between Mars and Jupiter) but they can be found anywhere (including in a path that can impact Earth)
- Meteoroid: When two asteroids hit each other, the small chunks that break off are called meteoroids
- Meteor: If a meteoroid enters the Earth’s atmosphere, it begins to vapourise and then becomes a meteor. On Earth, it’ll look like a streak of light in the sky, because the rock is burning up
- Meteorite: If a meteoroid doesn’t vapourise completely and survives the trip through Earth’s atmosphere, it can land on the Earth. At that point, it becomes a meteorite
- Comet: Like asteroids, a comet orbits the Sun. However rather than being made mostly of rock, a comet contains lots of ice and gas, which can result in amazing tails forming behind them (thanks to the ice and dust vapourising)
In other news, Jupiter and Saturn will come so close together next week they’ll form a rare “double planet” phenomenon for the first time in 800 years.
Britain is to launch a spacecraft next year in a mission to ambush a comet and unlock mysteries of the universe.
And, Nasa has announced its first team of astronauts that will be heading for the Moon.
Have you ever watched a meteor shower? Let us know in the comments…
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