2021 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. However, evidence suggests that Phaethon is actually the rocky core of an evaporated comet. These meteors intercept the Earth at a fairly low speed of 35 km/s (79,000 mph). Because of this, Geminids tend to be slow and colorful- probably the prettiest of the major showers.

This is a composite image of 229 Geminid meteors collected between sunset on December 11 and sunrise on December 14 (three nights, 28 + 59 + 142). Since the images were collected over many hours, the radiant of the shower is not in a fixed location. Conditions were generally poor this year, with a bright moon interfering much of the night and a thin cloud cover. All of the meteors seen here are Geminid members. Removed from the composite are members of other active showers- sigma Hydrids, Puppid-Velids, and Monocerotids. The Moon has also been removed.

Long necklace-like trails on the image are the paths of stars and planets, circling the north celestial pole in the upper left.