Moon to Darken Geminid Meteor Shower
The apex of the annual Geminid meteor shower is December 13th, but the bright moon is endangering one of the most spectacular light shows of the year. Observers of the moon got a nice view of the full moon and total lunar eclipse on December 10th, but meteor shower aficionados will be disappointed to learn that this bright moon will likely darken tomorrow night's show. Light from Earth's moon is expected to illuminate the night sky, making it difficult to see the extraterrestrial meteors as they race through space.
The Geminid meteor shower is know for their slow and bright streaks through the sky. Some of them even appear yellowish in color. On a clear moonless night, skywatchers have reported seeing up to 120 meteors per hour during the peak of the Geminid light show in past years. In most showers, meteors are remnants of comets, but the Geminids are from an asteroid called 3200 Phaethon, which sheds pieces of itself. However, the origin of the name Geminid is derived from the constellation Gemini, since the meteors appear to radiate from this point in the sky. When observing this spot in space, you are actually looking into the line of 3200 Phaethon's orbit.