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Meteor Shower Told in Tweets

Israelis in a hot water spring on the shore of the Dead Sea near the Israeli Kibbutz of Ein Gedi watch the sky for Geminid meteor streaks above the Judean desert on December 14, 2012. Photo by Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images.

Prepare to look skyward. Nature put on a dazzling light show early Friday morning, and many will have a chance to see another tonight. The Geminid meteor shower, which occurs every December, delivering as many as 80 meteors an hour, is thought to result from debris spewing from an asteroid-like object called 3200 Phaethon.

From NewsHour science correspondent Miles O’Brien and BoingBoing, here’s a guide on how to watch it, along with a primer from Astronomy Now.com‘s night sky consultant, Mark Armstrong.

“Geminids are streams of small particles, maybe dust or leftovers from a comet,” Armstrong says. “What happens with a comet is it orbits around the sun, and it leaves a stream behind it of dust — so small meteoroids. And meteor showers are commonly encountered every year.”

In case you missed it, here’s a look at what people have been snapping from their neighborhoods.

Depending on where you live, you may have a second chance to see it tonight. Here’s a map from AccuWeather showing who has the best view.

Most meteor showers are caused by icy comets casting off jets and meteoroides when heated by sunlight, NASA says in this video below. But the Geminid Meteor shower, which appears to radiate from the constellation Gemini, is less understood.


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Jeremy Blackman, Patti Parson, David Pelcyger contributed to this report.

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