2008 Geminids Shower

The annual Geminid meteor shower occurs when debris from the asteroid 3200 Phaethon intercepts the Earth. This is an unusual type of shower in having an asteroidal, rather than cometary parent (although there is evidence that Phaethon may actually be the rocky core of an evaporated comet).

This is a composite image of 60 meteors collected between sunset on December 12 and sunrise on December 13. Since the images were collected over many hours, the radiant of the shower is not in a fixed location. Conditions were poor, with a full Moon (the brightest of the year) as well as thin clouds, some heavy clouds, and some snow.

In order to make the meteors more clear, the Moon has been digitally removed from each of the individual meteor frames, except for one. Otherwise the string of Moon images from east to west over the evening would block many of the meteors.

There are currently several active meteor showers, so it is likely that a few of the meteors in this image are not Geminids.