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Geminid meteor shower promises to be a big one


A Geminid meteor streaks diagonally across the sky against a field of star trails over one of the peaks of the Seven Sisters rock formation in this exposure early December 14, 2007 in the Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada.


Ethan Miller

Geminid meteor shower is expected to be big and bright NASA says.

Geminid gets its name from the constellation Gemini as the annual shower seems to arrive from near the star Castor in that constellation. said that the Geminid showers tend to be the most bright and spectacular, outshining its rival the Perseid meteor shower.

The meteors from the shower are pieces of an object called the 3200 Phaethon - an extinct comet that was once believed to be an asteroid.

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NASA describes it as a "rocky skeleton of a comet that lost its ice after too many close encounters with the sun."

The debris collides with Earth every year since the 19th century.

The shower began weak and are now a huge light display.

They reach Earth at a speed of 22 miles per second, half the speed of other showers.

NASA said that the shower is expected to arrive this weekend and peak Dec. 13.