Thursday night’s Geminid meteor shower dazzled astronomers and casual sky watchers alike through the early Friday morning hours with an abundance of shooting stars.
"Meteors from the new shower (if any) will be visible in the early evening, with the Geminids making their appearance later on and lasting until dawn,” said Bill Cooke, the head of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office, in a statement. Cooke added that the source of the potentially impending meteor shower, was a comet named Wirtanen, whose debris stream the earth had not yet encountered. However, he said that computer models predicted that it might come into contact with the earth this year for the first time.
Experts touted that this year’s display would be an especially lavish light show, and according to the reactions on Twitter, people were not disappointed.
“Perfect conditions near DC last night for the Geminid meteor shower,” tweeted former NASA astronaut John Grunsfeld. “Saw 5 bright trails in the first 5 minutes. go out tonight to see!”
Playboy playmate Sara Underwood tweeted, “Best meteor shower of the year, Geminid, is tonight and tomorrow night! Find somewhere to layout and enjoy!!!!”
The Geminids, which become visible when the earth drives through debris that is discarded by an asteroid called 3200 Phaethon, are expected to continue until Dec. 16th, before they completely disappear.