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Geminid meteors

 

Source: Hindustan Times 

Context: Researchers demystify the unusual origin of the Geminids meteor shower.

  • NASA’s Parker Solar Probe mission is providing new evidence that a violent, catastrophic event created the Geminids.

Findings:

  • While most meteor showers originate from comets, the Geminids are believed to come from an asteroid called 3200 Phaethon. Unlike comets, asteroids like Phaethon are not typically affected by the Sun’s heat.
  • By analysing the data collected by the Parker Solar Probe, the scientists modelled three possible scenarios for the formation of the Geminid stream and compared them to existing models based on Earth-based observations.
  • They concluded that violent scenarios, such as high-speed collisions or gaseous explosions, were the most consistent with the Parker data. This suggests that a sudden and powerful event likely triggered the creation of the Geminid meteor stream from Phaethon.

 

About the mission: 

The Parker Solar Probe is a NASA space probe launched in 2018 with the mission of making observations of the outer corona of the Sun. It will approach the closest to the sun by 2025.