Google Doodle follows Geminid meteor shower to Earth

Google Doodle shows the Geminid meteor shower in slideshow form.

Google Doodle

Google Doodle on Thursday took us on a journey to show how the Geminid meteor shower traveled to Earth.

The slideshow Doodle reveals how 3200 Phaethon, an asteroid that may be an extinct comet, fractures when its orbit brings it near our sun and creates a trail of debris. The asteroid is named after the son of Greek god Apollo.

This is the Geminid meteor shower, so named because the meteors appear to come from a radiant in the constellation Gemini. The first recorded observation was from a riverboat on the Mississippi River in 1833, and it’s got more intense each year since.

Every December, Earth passes through this debris cloud, which crashes into our atmosphere at 79,000 miles (127,000 kilometers) per hour, where it normally disintegrates and creates a spectacular light show.

This year, it’ll peak at about 100 per hour around 2 a.m. PT, according to NASA’s Bill Cooke.

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