Meteors flash across sky in Perseid meteor shower
Earth has begun travelling through the debris field of the “extinct comet” known as 3200 Phaeton. Specks of dust and ice have been left by the comet in its wake of the orbit of the Sun, and this debris is hitting Earth at 78,000 miles per hour. Earth began moving through the debris on December 4 and will continue to be in until December 17.
However, as our planet moves into the thickness, the shooting stars will become more prominent and regular.
The likes of NASA have said that it is the most spectacular meteor shower of the year, with up to 100 shooting stars per hour.
The meteor shower is set to peak on December 13 and 14, before it begins to fade out until our visit next year.
While many will be looking forward to the event, as is typical of the UK in December, thick grey clouds could obscure the view.
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However, NASA is offering a live stream of the event, meaning you will not miss a thing.
But you may have to wait until the early hours of the morning.
The shooting stars will peak after midnight UK time.
NASA will begin broadcasting the event at 8PM CST on December 13 (2AM GMT on December 14) on its NASA Meteor Watch Facebook page.
NASA also added: “Meteor videos recorded by the All Sky Fireball Network are also available each morning to identify Geminids in these videos.”
The so-called comet is a bit of a mystery to astronomers, who call it part asteroid, part comet.
Asteroid 3200 Phaethon was first discovered in 1983 and a spokesman for NASA said: “With a diameter of about 5km, Phaethon is the third largest near-Earth asteroid is classified as potentially hazardous.”
At five kilometres wide, the asteroid is one of the largest ever discovered in our solar system and is approximately half the size of the Chicxulub space rock which helped to wipe out the dinosaurs 66 million years ago.
The space rock has been named after the son of the Greek sun god Helios who pulled the Sun across the sky.
According to Greek legend, Phaethon attempted this but lost control of the Sun and almost destroyed Earth.
Astronomers say the asteroid used to be much bigger but as it has passed near the Sun many times, pieces of it have crumbled away.
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