A spectacular meteor shower has an origin story in a “violent and cataclysmic event,” suggests a new study.

Meteor showers usually come from comets, icy bodies sometimes called “dirty snowballs” that circle the solar system. The Geminids meteor shower, or Geminids, however, comes from an asteroid or space rock known as 3200 Phaethon. Every December, Earth passes through the stream of dust left behind by Phaethon and the tiny specks provide a light show high in the atmosphere.

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