Geminid meteors shower the skies

Did you catch a shooting star Wednesday night?

Planet Earth is making its annual pass through the dusty trail of 3200 Phaethon, meaning the annual Geminid meteor showers will continue to shoot through the skies this month.

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The peak came Wednesday night and Thursday morning, according to NASA, however, the Geminids will continue to be visible for skywatchers.

Geminid activity is broad, according to Bill Cooke with NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office.

"With August's Perseids obscured by bright moonlight, the Geminids will be the best shower this year," Cooke said. "The thin, waning crescent Moon won't spoil the show."

The Geminids take their name from where they originate—the constellation Gemini.

As for 3200 Phaethon? Astronomers don't know exactly what the "weird, rocky object" is, other than the Earth passes through its debris trail every December.

"Phaethon's nature is debated," Cooke said. "It's either a near-Earth asteroid or an extinct comet, sometimes called a rock comet."

Astronomers will be studying 3200 Phaethon closely this year, as it makes its nearest pass to the Earth since its discovery in 1983, according to NASA.

The following charts from Sky and Telescope will give you an idea of where to look in the sky to catch the Geminids:

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