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Meteor shower tonight

delhi Updated: Dec 13, 2009 01:14 IST
Satyen Mohapatra
Satyen Mohapatra
Hindustan Times
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Stargazers in the city rejoice.

December 13 is all set to offer you more than just a beautiful night sky.

The capital is all set to witness the grand celestial spectacle of Geminids meteor shower, roughly from December13 (Sunday) midnight till early Monday.

SPACE (Science Popularisation Association of Communicators and Educators) Head of Observation Ajay Talwar claims Geminids, one of the most reliable meteor showers, are expected to peak on December 13, with more than 100 meteors entering the earth's atmosphere per hour.

In 1998, Geminids are supposed have reached a peak of 140 per hour. The Geminids are the debris of a "strange object" called 3200 Phaethon that was earlier thought to be an asteroid but is now classified as an extinct comet.

Earth runs into the stream of debris from 3200 Phaethon every year in mid-December. Bits of dust travelling at 80,000 mph hit our atmosphere, turning into glowing meteors — due to friction — that seem to be emanating from the constellation Gemini, Talwar said.

The first Geminid meteors were spotted in the mid-1800s but then they had only 10-20 shooting stars per hour. Since then, however, the Geminids have grown in intensity.