2017 Geminid Shower

2017 Geminids Composite 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 236 Geminid meteors collected between sunset on December 9 and sunrise on December 13 (four nights). Since the images were collected over many hours, the radiant of the shower is not in a fixed location. Weather conditions this year were good, except for the peak night of December 13 when we had a snow storm and no meteors were observed. There was no interference from the Moon this year. The 236 meteors seen here represent 34 on 9 Dec, 34 on 10 Dec, 73 on 11 Dec, and 95 on 12 Dec.

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

This image contains all meteors collected. Most are Geminids, but some are likely members of other showers that are currently active: the Puppid-Velids, Monocerotids, Chi Orionids, 46Ps, and Sigma Hydrids.


© Copyright 2017, Chris L Peterson. All rights reserved.