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Geminid meteor shower to be visible from Saturday

December 11, 2004 02:10 IST

Amateur astronomers in Badlapur in Thane district of Maharashtra are preparing to witness the Geminid meteor shower, which will peak on the night of December 13-14.

Sky watchers can expect to see hundreds of colourful 'shooting stars' for a few hours around midnight, sources at the Aakash Ganga Centre for Astronomy said. The best time to get a good look at the celestial spectacle is from December 11 to the morning of December 13.

The source of this shower is asteroid 3200 Phaethon. There is a cloud of dust trailing behind it and the Earth passes through this debris every year in mid-December. The dust, travelling at 128,000 kmph (35km per second), hits the Earth's atmosphere and turns into glowing meteors due to friction.

"Geminids streak all over the sky and lead to a radiant point in the constellation Gemini. This year, the radiant lies close to Saturn -- a beautiful coincidence," the sources said.

Gemini and Saturn are high overhead at midnight and are easy to find.

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