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Geminid Meteor Shower To Light Up Skies

The year's most intense meteor shower is set to peak late on Friday night with Nasa predicting between 100-120 meteors per hour.

The annual Geminid shower can be seen from almost any point on Earth and astronomers say the best time to see the action is between midnight and sunrise on December 14.

While most meteor showers come from comets, Geminids is different because the 'parent' is an asteroid called 3200 Phaethon.

"Of all the debris streams Earth passes through every year, the Geminids' is by far the most massive," said Nasa astronomer Bill Cooke.

The Geminid shower takes its name from the Gemini constellation, from where it is thought to originate.

The shower lasts from December 12-16 but the bright waxing gibbous moon is expected to make viewing tricky at times.

Getting away from the artificial light of towns and cities will give skywatchers a better chance.

A meteor - often referred to as a shooting star - is the streak of light caused when a meteoroid fragment enters the atmosphere and burns up.

A Perseid meteor enters the skyline above the Glastonbury Tor, Somerset. The Perseid meteor shower is at its peak, with as many as 60 shooting stars per hour seen during the display (SWNS)
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Tue, Aug 13, 2013 10:00 BST