The Geminid Meteor Shower which remains active from December 4 to 16 will become more active tonight.
Nepal Astronomical Society has said that up to 120 such meteor showers can be viewed in an hour at the time when it is most active.
The Geminids are associated with the near-Earth object 3200 Phaethon, an asteroid that may have undergone a collision with another object in the distant past to produce the stream of particles that Earth runs into — creating the meteor shower, according to the Society.
The asteroid orbits the sun every 1.4 years. It occasionally comes close to Earth (at a safe distance) and also passes very close to the sun, inside of Mercury’s orbit and only 0.15 astronomical units from the sun. (An astronomical unit is the distance between the sun and the Earth: about 93 million miles or 150 million kilometers.)
Rocks in space that are about to collide with Earth’s atmosphere are called meteoroids. Those that streak through the atmosphere are called meteors, and if they reach the ground (which won’t happen with the Geminids, as the particles are too small to survive the trip) the rocks are called meteorites.
Those who want to see the spectacle can do so from a place near their homes which is free of light pollution. They can also click photos of this sky spectacle. The appropriate time to watch the Geminid Meteor Shower is between 8:45 pm tonight to 3:56 am tomorrow. There is no need for telescope or binoculars to watch the meteor shower.
The Society members and enthusiasts are going to Nagarkot this evening to view and photograph the meteor shower.