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Astronomy: Geminids: Today is the star of the night

Astronomy: Geminids: Today is the star of the night


Shooting stars can get their money’s worth that night: Then the Geminids meteor shower comes to a head. At least in western and southwestern Austria, the sky should remain clear, and thus allow the falling stars to be seen.

On the other hand, from Upper Austria to Burgenland, there are thick clouds, fog and precipitation tonight expectThere will probably be no visual contact with the Geminids here.

Caused by the asteroid Phaeton

It is named after the constellation Gemini from your ship With 150 meteors per hour, it is considered the richest meteor shower of the year. Assuming the weather is good, it can be observed between 5 pm and 7 am. However, the moon does not set until after midnight, so that most dying meteors are visible in the morning.

The current was caused by an asteroid tourist car, an “extinct” comet about six kilometers long that crosses Earth’s orbit every year on December 14th. Because of the position of the Earth and the orbits of the asteroid “the impression arises that the particles come from the direction of the constellation of Gemini (Gemini)”, Written on the home page Vienna Working Group on Astronomy (WAA).

How to make a meteor

Comets are made of ice and dust and lose some of their matter as they approach the Sun. Then some dust particles revolve around the sun along the comet’s orbit. If these dust particles cross the Earth, they penetrate the Earth’s atmosphere at a high speed and evaporate at the same speed. “Behind the evaporating particle, a channel of ionosphere forms, which glows,” explains WAA – this is how a fallen star appears from the viewpoint of the Earth, which, of course, is much closer than the constellation of the same name.

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By the way, you don’t need any visual aids to observe meteor showers, emphasize WAA, and the best way to do this is with the naked eye. For those who like it more scientific: In the year 2024 the Japanese-German space mission “Destination +” They flew towards the asteroid Phaethon and examined dust particles – the components of falling stars.