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Watch the Most Intense, Mysterious Meteor Shower of the Year — VIDEO

Meteor Shower at Joshua Tree 2010
Henry Jun Wah Lee via Vimeo
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National Journal Staff
Dec. 14, 2011, 6:56 a.m.

The Gem­in­id met­eor shower peaked on Tues­day night, cap­tiv­at­ing sky watch­ers, in­clud­ing one man in Los Angeles who drove off a cliff while view­ing the light show.

Ac­cord­ing to NASA, it’s the most in­tense met­eor shower of the year, which lasts for days, is rich in fire­balls, and can be seen from al­most any point on Earth.

“The Gem­in­ids are my fa­vor­ite,” NASA as­tro­nomer Bill Cooke said in a state­ment, “be­cause they defy ex­plan­a­tion.”

Most met­eor showers come from comets, but Gem­in­ids are dif­fer­ent. Ac­cord­ing to NASA, “The par­ent is not a comet but a weird rocky ob­ject named 3200 Phaethon that sheds very little dusty debris — not nearly enough to ex­plain the Gem­in­ids.”

One view­er cap­tured video of a fire­ball over San Jose, Cal­if., on Tues­day:

NASA on Sunday caught early foot­age of an­oth­er Gem­in­id fire­ball from a Ten­ness­ee cam­era:

Watch stun­ning foot­age from the 2010 Gem­in­id met­eor shower, cap­tured from the High Desert in Cali­for­nia:

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