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Geminid Meteor Shower

Geminid Meteor Shower:

NASA’s Parker Solar Probe mission has shed new light on the origin of the intense Geminid meteor shower.

  • Geminid meteor shower peaks during mid-December each year and is considered to be one of the best and most reliable annual meteor showers.
  • Unlike most meteor showers that originate from comets, the Geminid stream appears to originate from an asteroid known as 3200 Phaethon.
  • The new findings have perplexed scientists as asteroids are not typically influenced by the Sun’s heat and should not leave behind a trail.
  • Phaethon is an asteroid, but as it flies by the Sun, it seems to have some kind of temperature-driven activity.
  • The Parker data indicates that a powerful event such as a high-speed collision or a gaseous explosion likely caused the creation of the Geminid stream.
  • 3200 Phaethon is classified as an asteroid- the first to be discovered via satellite.
  • It was discovered on Oct. 11, 1983, using the Infrared Astronomical Satellite, and named after the Greek myth of Phaethon, son of the sun god Helios, due to its close approach to Sun.
  • It is blue in colour, which is rare for an asteroid.