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HomeAstronomyShooting stars dazzle in the night sky as Geminids meteor shower reaches its peak

Shooting stars dazzle in the night sky as Geminids meteor shower reaches its peak

Shooting stars dazzle in the night sky as Geminids meteor shower reaches its peak
Shooting stars dazzle in the night sky as Geminids meteor shower reaches its peak
A man watches a meteor during the Geminid meteor shower over Brimham Rocks, a collection of balancing rock formations in the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in North Yorkshire. (Credits: PA)

Skygazers were treated to a celestial spectacle of shooting stars on Sunday night as a meteor shower visible across the UK took place.

Areas lucky enough to be clear of cloud were able to catch a glimpse of the Geminids meteor shower during its peak on Sunday night and into the early hours of Monday.

The Geminid meteor shower takes place every December and is regarded as one of the most reliable of the year, with as many as 70 an hour.

Anyone who missed the event may still have a chance even though the peak has passed, as showers are expected to continue shooting through the skies until December 17.

The Geminids originate from a rocky asteroid called 3200 Phaethon which has a comet-like orbit. They were first observed in 1862.

A man watches a meteor during the Geminid meteor shower over Brimham Rocks
The Geminids meteor shower is active between 4th and 17th of December and is regarded as one of the most reliable of the year (Credits: PA)
A man watches a meteor during the Geminid meteor shower
Stargazers could spot up to 70 shooting stars per hour when the clouds cleared (Credits: PA)

The meteors, small pieces of interplanetary debris, appear to radiate from near the bright star Castor in the constellation Gemini.

Friction with the upper atmosphere heats up the incoming debris, causing the air around them to glow brightly.

Pictured is the Geminid meteor shower over the Isle of Wight, taken on the South Coast of the island on the Cliffs above Grange Chine overlooking Grange Farm Campsite. The lights on the beach are from a group of fishermen who were night fishing. This is a composite image showing seven Geminid meteors over the space of five hours during clear skies from Saturday evening into Sunday morning 13/12/20 Please credit: Christopher Cockroft/pictureexclusive.com Standard reproduction rates apply, contact Paul Jacobs, Picture Exclusive to arrange payment - 07923 866166, pictureexclusive@gmail.com
This is a composite image showing seven Geminid meteors over the space of five hours above the Isle of Wight last weekend (Credits: Christopher Cockroft/pictureexclusive.com)

This leads to streaks of light that are also known as shooting stars.