Clouds, 'Supermoon' could dim Geminid meteor shower Tuesday

Clouds, 'Supermoon' could dim Geminid meteor shower Tuesday

A Geminid fireball explodes over the Mojave Desert on Dec. 13, 2009.

The Geminids are named for the constellation Gemini, the point from which the meteors seem to radiate. The shower is actually fragments of the asteroid 3200 Phaethon, according to Space.com. The asteroid has a debris trail in orbit around the sun and once a year, Earth runs into this dusty path, which intersects our planet's path through space.

Geminid meteors are bright and fast (79,000 mph), and the shower is famous for producing fireballs, which are meteors brighter than magnitude -4, the same magnitude as the planet Venus. According to Sky and Telescope, the Geminds are only behind August's Perseids when it comes to fireballs.

Meteor showers don't require binoculars or telescopes to view — just your bare eyes, Space.com said.

To maximize the chances of seeing meteors, choose a site at least 40 miles from a major city, Astronomy.com said. "Suggested gear includes a lawn chair, lots of warm clothing, blankets, cookies or fruit, and a warm, nonalcoholic beverage. Alcohol interferes with the eye’s dark adaption as well as the visual perception of events," according to Astronomy.com.



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