Behind a meteor shower: what you're really viewing

Behind a meteor shower: what you're really viewing

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Imagine looking up at the stars and seeing a glimpse of a bright light trail. More than likely, you just witnessed a meteor shooting across the Earth's atmosphere.

The Geminid Meteor Shower peaked on Saturday evening and into Sunday morning.

According to The American Meteor Society, the best viewing time was after midnight where you could see as many as 20 per hour from the northern hemisphere and as far south as the equator. The AMS stated that the rates of seeing these meteors will fall drastically each passing night and will no longer be visible after the 17th of December.

A meteor shower originates from comets and each time a comet swings by the sun, a large amount of meteoroid size particles spread out and will eventually form a meteoroid stream, according to The American Meteor Society. If the Earth's orbit and the comet's orbit intersect at the same point, that allows a meteor shower to occur.

According to NASA, approximately 30 meteor showers occur each year that are visible to observes on Earth and some of these showers have been around longer than 100 years, like the Perseid Meteor Shower. The Perseid Meteor Shower occurs each year in August has been been observed for about 2,000 years documented in the Chinese annuals.

Some meteors you will see might be red, yellow, or green. Those colors are caused by the ionization of molecules - like oxygen which appears to be green, stated by NASA.

Don't worry if you missed the meteor shower this time! Your next viewing will be January 2-3 when the Quadrantid meteor shower passes through our atmosphere, according to The American Meteor Society.

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