Pat Shingleton Column

"Criss-Crossing Meteors..."

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Posted: Dec 12, 2012 6:50 PM by Pat Shingleton

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In addition to Christmas parties, there could be a few "meteor parties" tonight. Earth will pass through a stream of debris from "rock comet" 3200 Phaethon which is referred to as the Geminid meteor shower. In 1948, Comet Wirtanen was also discovered and it takes 5.4 years to orbit the sun and reaches its closest point to the sun outside Earth's orbit. In addition to the peak of the strong annual Geminid shower the new, "Piscids" shower, could offer four stream crossings through Friday evening. Forecasters expect the criss-crossing debris streams to produce the greatest combined number of shooting stars. Viewings for the new shower will be visible in the early evening with the Geminids making their appearance later on and lasting until dawn.

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