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The Geminid meteor shower peaks tonight (December 13) through the morning of December 14. The shower is thought to be intensifying every year and recent showers have seen 120–160 meteors per hour under optimal conditions. Best viewing is just before dawn.

For optimal viewing be far away from artificial lights and find open sky – because Geminid meteors come across the sky from many all directions.

However, this year December’s full/supermoon on December 14 could mean all but the brightest Geminid trails will be hidden by the moon’s extensive glare.

Geminids are pieces of debris from an object called 3200 Phaethon. Long thought to be an asteroid, Phaethon is now classified as an extinct comet. Earth runs into a stream of debris from 3200 Phaethon every year in mid-December, causing meteors to fly from the constellation Gemini.

The Geminids were first observed relatively recently, in 1862, compared with the Perseids (36AD) and the Leonids (902AD).

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