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What This Year's Largest Geminids Meteor Shower is, and How to Watch it

You have a chance to watch the most spectacular meteor shower of the year in the sky today!

Raka Mukherjee | News18.com@RakaMukherjeee

Updated:December 13, 2018, 1:17 PM IST
What This Year's Largest Geminids Meteor Shower is, and How to Watch it
You have a chance to watch the most spectacular meteor shower of the year in the sky today!

While every Google doodle is different in its own way and has a story to tell, today's 7-panel Google doodle is somewhat special.

Set across 7 swipe screens, the doodle is a visual treat. The background of the galaxy, with animated planets seen enjoying a meteor shower.

But it isn't just any ordinary shower. It is the Geminids meteor shower, which is scheduled to take place later tonight and is this year's largest and most spectacular light show of the year.

Untitled design (4)

But what is the Geminids shower, and why should you care?

The Geminid shower is a meteor show that happens each around this time in December, as Earth passes through the huge debris cloud left behind by the object 3200 Phaethon, an odd blue asteroid that may be an extinct comet.

The asteroid named after Greek God Apollo’s son, was first discovered 35 years ago. With every passing year since the 1800's, the escalation of yellowish streaks of light in the night-sky have only grown intense.

The shower is named Geminids because they appear to originate from the constellation 'Gemini'. Last year they came within 6.4 million miles of the planet. However, it wasn't visible thanks to the supermoon.

This year, if the conditions remain clear, you could potentially watch it - not only will it be closest to the Earth than its ever been, it will also be the brightest, most spectacular meteor show of the entire year.

How do I watch it?

You don't need a telescope or magnifying glass to watch today's shower, as it will be visible to the naked eye. To watch it, simply go the darkest place you find in the open, and a clear spot with no buildings obstructing the sky - and you are set. You eyes will need about half an hour to adjust to the darkness before you can actually start to see the shower.

However, if you live in a big city or its suburbs, you might not be able to witness it at all - owing to air pollution, clouds over the city, or simply the excess of light everywhere.

For those missing out, NASA has an example of what it looked like when it passed by recently.

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