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"It's either a near-Earth asteroid or an extinct comet, sometimes called a rock comet," he wrote on a blog on the agency's website. "There is another object — an Apollo asteroid named 2005 UD — that is in a dynamically similar orbit to Phaethon, prompting speculation that the two were once part of a larger body that split apart or collided with another asteroid."

There's more: "Most shower meteors are shed by comets when their orbits take them into the inner Solar System, but the Geminids may be the debris from this long-ago breakup or collision event. When you consider that the Geminid meteor stream has more mass than any other meteor shower, including the Perseids, whatever happened back then must have been pretty spectacular."

The first known report of the Geminid meteor shower was in 1833, when it was seen from a riverboat moving slowly on the Mississippi River. The shower produced 10 or 20 an hour back then, but the Geminids have grown in intensity over the centuries as Jupiter's gravity tugs particles from 3200 Phaethon closer to the Earth.

Here are some tips to get the most out of your nighttime meteor-watching excursion:

Give your eyes 30 minutes to an hour to adjust to the darkness.

Lie flat on your back on a thick blanket or hammock, or sit back in a reclining lawn chair so you can see as much sky as possible. Don't look directly at Gemini, the shower's radiant point; you'll miss some of the amazing tails associated with this wintertime favorite. Instead, look slightly away from the constellation.

The only thing that makes the Geminid meteor shower take second place to August's Perseid meteor shower is the late fall chill, so take along some hot drinks and snacks, and prepare to settle in. The Geminids reward patience. They often fly in spurts, but there could be lulls when you see no meteors at all.

If you miss the Geminids, there's one more chance in 2021 to see meteors. The Ursid meteor shower runs from Dec. 17 to 26 and always peaks around the winter solstice, which is Dec. 21.

The Ursids are fairly low-key, delivering five or 10 meteors an hour, but on rare occasions they can produce outbursts of 100 or more meteors an hour. The meteors appear to come from the Ursa Minor constellation.

Source : https://patch.com/california/lagunabeach/geminid-meteor-shower-see-fireballs-laguna-beach

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Geminid Meteor Shower: See Fireballs In Laguna Beach

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