Google dedicates Doodle to Geminids meteor shower which would peak today
New Delhi, Dec 13: Today's Google Doodle is dedicated to the Geminid meteor shower which is underway and expected to peak today.
The Geminids are a meteor shower caused by the object 3200 Phaethon. Every year, in December, our planet Earth crosses the orbital path of an object called 3200 Phaethon, a mysterious body that is sometimes referred to as a rock comet. The debris shed by 3200 Phaethon crashes into Earth's upper atmosphere at extremely high speed, to vaporize as colorful Geminid meteors.
The meteors in this shower appear to come from a radiant in the constellation Gemini (hence the shower's name). However, they can appear almost anywhere in the night sky, and often appear yellowish in hue. Well north of the equator, the radiant rises about sunset, reaching a usable elevation from the local evening hours onwards.
In the southern hemisphere, the radiant appears only around local midnight or so. Observers in the northern hemisphere will see higher Geminid rates as the radiant is higher in the sky. The meteors travel at medium speed in relation to other showers, at about 35 km/s, making them fairly easy to spot. The Geminids are now considered by many to be the most consistent and active annual shower. Geminids disintegrate while at heights above 39 km.