The Gemenids

9 Dec 2010

At www.physorg.com/print210942979.html ... the Gemenid annual meteor showers peaks on December 13th and 14th and is quite intense. It lasts for days, is rich in fireballs, and can be seen around the world. Most meteor showers come from comets but the parent body of the Gemenids is a small rocky asteroid - with the tag, '3200 Phaethon'. This appears to shed very little dust or debris so the mystery is - why does it create so many shooting stars if these can be explained simply by small particles of debris intereacting with the atmosphere of the eart. Is something else going on? Not only that, the Gemenid debris stream is the biggest stream the earth encounters, it is massive in comparison to the dust left behind by periodic comets. However, '3200 Phaethon' is just 98lb -  a fairly small piece of rock. It has been suggested it is a chip off a larger asteroid, with the tag, Pallas - which is a hundred times larger. Hence, the debris stream may be a relic of the break-up but for the moment it remains a mystery - but how might this be explained by non orthodox theory.