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WOW!DEC 13, 2010 - Geminid Meteor Shower is a timely offering from NASA, what with the Geminids topping out at upwards of two fireballs a minute during its peak apparition this week (December 13-14). Look south around midnight, in the direction of the constellation Gemini (to the left and above the most recognizable constellation in the winter sky, Orion), and if clouds allow you should be able to see a swarm of meteors slashing through the sky. They're well known as a celestial spectacle, but the actual origin of the Geminids is a bit of a mystery. Their path tracks that of the asteroid Phaethon, which astronomers conjecture may be a "rock comet" - emitting dust particles through some still unknown process, which particles generate the Gemini fireballs as they tear into Earth's atmosphere at velocities around 35 kilometers per second (approximately 78,000 miles per hour). Exactly how these fireballs are produced is a mystery, but this much is clear: they're a stunning spectacle in the night sky.

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