Meteor shower is one of the most famous event for stargazers. One author mentions meteors as “I entered literary life as meteor and I shall leave it like a thunderbolt.”
Where do you live doesn’t matter that is northern hemisphere or somewhere else. Just confirm you are gazing sky is light pollution free. No need for wide telescopes, binoculars or going to high mountain, just you have to wake up in the middle of night.
There are three terminologies that we should get know namely, Meteoroid, Meteorite and Meteor. Asteroids are small, rocky objects which orbit around sun just like the Earth.
With passage of time asteroids break downs into small pieces called as Meteoroids. When Meteoroids enters into Earth’s atmosphere it burns up, visible as a shooting star.
If a particular meteoroid passages through Earth’s atmosphere without burning and lands on earth’s surface then it’s called a Meteorite.
Approximately 50 to 75 meteorites are visible an hour with naked eye during meteor shower. They all appear to come from same point called the radiant. Impressive meteors showers include the Perseids in month of August and Geminids in month of December.
The radiant point for Perseids is constellation Perseus, so the name, Perseids. The radiant point of Geminids is constellation of Gemini so the name, Geminids.
There is colorful trail structure for both showers Perseids and Geminids. Color appear due to chemical composition of trail. Meteors burn up in atmosphere. Elements like calcium, sodium, iron start to ionize producing colorful glow.
Perseids are producing bright pin and green trails while Geminids producing turquoise trails. The year 1966 witnessed certainly the greatest Meteor shower in recorded history as it produced rates as high as 40 meters per second.
There is one interesting fact related to meteorites. Take a magnet if it is meteorite then it will get attracted to the magnet, because it contains large amount of iron, some of simple rocks contains iron too it may stick to magnet but meteorites are heated to high temperature so it’s structure is different than that of volcanic rocks with lots of tiny holes, visibility differentiable.
Coming December do yourself a favor and enjoy fireballs Gemenids!