Quarta-feira’, 27/3/2019 | : : UTC-4
The Reflection

Geminid meteor shower lights up the skies

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The famous Geminid meteor shower has been lighting up the skies for the past week and has been called the best meteor shower of the year.

The Geminid showers are considered some of the best because of the bright, quick and dazzling nature of the individual meteors. This year, the concentration of meteors reached as many as 100 meteors per hour.

Although some areas were too light-polluted for the meteor shower to be visible, Slooh.com broadcasted a Geminid meteor shower webcast during the event.

Space dust raced through the skies during the Geminid meteor shower. Courtesy of the National Park Service

“I’ve never witnessed a meteor shower before, so I hoped I could catch this one,” senior Elizabeth Welsh said.

Another bonus feature of the 2018 Geminid shower is the brilliant 46P/Wirtanen comet that was also visible in the sky this past week. Onlookers could see the comet, located in the Orion constellation, using binoculars or a telescope. In some cases, where the skies were clear and dark enough, the comet was even visible with the naked eye.

This isn’t the first time that the Geminid meteor shower has graced the night skies. The meteor shower is nearly 200 years old, according to the oldest known records.

The first recorded observation was in 1833 from a riverboat on the Mississippi River, and the shower has only been getting stronger since then. For the past couple of centuries, Jupiter’s gravity has been pulling the string of particles farther from asteroid 3200 Phaethon, the source of the shower, and closer to the earth.

The Geminids are named as such because they appear to emanate from the brilliant constellation Gemini (the twins). In the Northern Hemisphere, the meteor shower can be located by looking in the southwestern sky for the constellation Orion, which is distinctive because of the three star “hunter’s belt”. Then look up and to the left of Orion to see Gemini. In the Southern Hemisphere, Gemini appears to the lower right of Orion.

If you haven’t been able to witness the meteor showers yourself, NASA’s all-sky camera has captured some amazing Geminid views for 2018.


Sophia Christensen
About

I'm a senior at Gull Lake High School and this is my first year on The Reflection staff, so I guess you could call me a newspaper newbie. I joined the newspaper sort of on a whim because I wanted to put the skills I learned in Multimedia and Reporting to work, but I'm here to stay and enjoy the ride. I like to write feature articles because I love the facet of newspaper that is giving people an outlet to speak their minds.

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