The Geminids meteor shower will peak at the same time as a total solar eclipse makes the skies in some areas of South America dark.
The Geminids, the biggest meteor shower of the year, lasted from December 4 to December 17, according to the American Meteorological Association (AMS). But the meteor shower will peak on the evening of December 13-14 and can be watched from all over the world, when the sky clears. However, observers in the southern hemisphere will see fewer meteors than in the north. On the night when the meteor shower peaks, the Moon is not yet full, creating favorable conditions for observation.
The Geminids meteor showers are usually very bright and vibrant in color with a tendency to be active before midnight in the Northern Hemisphere. Astronomers often consider the Geminids as the most beautiful meteor shower in the sky, creating up to 120 colorful meteor trails every hour at peak times. It is made up of debris from an asteroid called 3,200 Phaethon, discovered in 1982.
Another special astronomical event occurred around the same time the Geminids meteor shower peaked. On December 14, a relatively rare total eclipse will appear in Chile and Argentina. The semi-phase of this event can be observed from several regions in South America, southwest Africa and Antarctica. A total eclipse occurs when the Moon passes in front of the Sun, completely obscuring the Sun’s disk when viewed from several locations on Earth.
At that time, viewers could only see the outer edge of the Sun, called the corona. The eclipse begins in one place and ends in another, lasting a total of more than 5 hours. This is the only total solar eclipse in 2020. The last solar eclipse was on July 2, 2019.