The 2016 Geminid meteor shower is underway and will peak on the night of the 13/14 December. Unfortunately, this year the peak combines with a Full Moon which may affect viewing!
HOW TO SEE GEMINID METEORS.
The Geminids radiate from the constellation Gemini and although you can see meteors all over the sky, if you look to the North East around midnight, close to the bright star Castor you may see some fine slow meteors.
What causes the Geminid meteor shower? Every year, in December, our planet Earth crosses the orbital path of asteroid 3200 Phaethon, a mysterious body that is sometimes referred to as a rock comet.
In periods of 1.43 years, this small 5-kilometer (3-mile) wide asteroid-type object swings extremely close to the sun (to within one-third of Mercury’s distance), at which juncture intense thermal fracturing causes this rocky body to crack and crumble, and to shed rubble into its orbital stream. Annually, at this time of year, the debris from 3200 Phaethon crashes into Earth’s upper atmosphere at some 130,000 kilometers (80,000 miles) per hour, to vaporize as colorful Geminid meteors.