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The online observatory Slooh.com will host a free live webcast Thursday, Dec. 12 from 6-10 p.m. EST (2300 to 0200 on Dec. 13 GMT) to follow the spectacular Geminid meteor shower as well as the incoming Comet 46P/Wirtanen, teeing up for its closest flyby of Earth in 20 years. Watch it live here in the window above, courtesy of Slooh, or directly on Slooh.com.
"With the Moon setting just before midnight, conditions should be perfect for a classic Geminids meteor shower this year." said Slooh Astronomer Paul Cox. "We'll also be pointing Slooh's telescopes to the peculiar asteroid 3200 Phaethon - the parent body of the Geminid meteors. Phaethon orbits the Sun every 17 months or so - leaving a trail of debris behind it. When Earth passes through the trail, the sand-grain-sized meteoroids are vaporized in our atmosphere as spectacular meteors."
Comet 46P will make a coincident appearance during the meteor shower and Slooh's Dr. Paige Godfrey will be joined by special guest Raquel Nuno, planetary scientist at The University of California, Los Angeles, to chat about it and how planetary and lunar surfaces are affected by asteroid impacts. Paul Cox will be on hand to tell viewers about the unique composition of meteors, their origins, and what makes them visible to the unaided eye. Paul will also show viewers how to track objects like Asteroid 3200 Phaethon and Comet 46P on your own using Slooh's network of telescopes.
The December Geminids provide an excellent opportunity across the northern hemisphere to see a meteor shower with your own eyes, rivaling the August Perseid meteor shower in total number. Slooh's flagship observatory situated at the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands will provide unmatched observing quality for this astronomical event.
Slooh storyteller Helen Avery will share how ancient astronomers observed these spectacular events in the past and the cultural and anthropological effects that meteor showers had on our ancestors. The Geminids meteor shower will be most visible at night on December 13th and December 14th with as many as 100-150 meteors per hour being visible for some observers.
Viewers can use the hashtag #SloohGeminids to ask questions during the show.
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