Google Doodle on Thursday took us on a journey to show how the Geminid meteor shower travelled 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 Greek god Apollo’s son.
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 and it crashes into our atmosphere at 79,000 miles (127,000 km) 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.