Geminid Meteor Shower

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  • Member since
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Geminid Meteor Shower
Posted by Centaur on Saturday, December 07, 2013 11:36 AM
The annual Geminid Meteor Shower is already underway and should peak during the night of December 13-14. The display has been growing stronger in recent years and could average over 100 meteors per hour for keen eyed observers near the peak. The Geminids are remnants of the asteroid 3200 Phaethon. 
 
The radiant is in the constellation Gemini. Meteors are equally likely to be seen anywhere in the sky, but their tails point back toward the radiant. The global peak this year is expected around 03 hr UT on December 14. During the shower Gemini rises during the early evening for mid-northern latitude observers. The shower should be prominent from that time until morning twilight.
 
During the peak period the Moon will be a waxing gibbous about 90% illuminated. It may provide some distraction until it sets during the predawn hours.
 
I’ve created a schedule for major meteor showers during this decade. It includes Moon illumination information. It can be seen at www.CurtRenz.com/asteroids
 
Descriptions and perhaps lucky photos of the meteors would be welcome additions to this thread.

For astronomical graphics, including monthly wallpaper calendar, visit:

www.CurtRenz.com/astronomical


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Posted by DaveMitsky on Thursday, December 12, 2013 3:36 PM

Sic itur ad astra!

Chance favors the prepared mind.

A man is a small thing, and the night is very large and full of wonders.

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Posted by DaveMitsky on Friday, December 13, 2013 1:28 AM

Today's episode of StarDate continues the story of the Geminids.

http://stardate.org/radio/program/geminid-meteors-ii

There's a video and additional information posted at http://www.nasa.gov/connect/chat/geminids_2013.html#.Uqq3wfRDvTp

The effect of bright moonlight for most of the night will reduce meteor counts by two- to three-fold, as discussed at http://spaceweather.com/ (Friday).

Click on http://in-the-sky.org/news.php?id=20131214_12_100 for still more on the Geminids.

Dave Mitsky

Sic itur ad astra!

Chance favors the prepared mind.

A man is a small thing, and the night is very large and full of wonders.

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  • From: PA, USA, Earth Moderator
Posted by DaveMitsky on Friday, December 13, 2013 3:20 PM
This morning I spent almost two hours observing Geminids from my backyard.  It was then or never, as an oncoming snowstorm precludes seeing any meteors tomorrow morning.  The conditions were far from ideal.  The high clouds that one local weatherman had predicted were present, giving the sky a somewhat milky appearance, which, coupled with my red zone light pollution, resulted in a VLM that was only fourth magnitude or so.  It was cold as well, with temperatures in the low 20s (Fahrenheit, of course) and a wind chill in the low teens.
 
I waited until the Moon was very low in the sky, sat down, covered myself with a blanket, and began watching.  Gemini was still high in the sky.  I didn't see a Geminid for at least  five minutes.  The first one was fairly bright but dove very quickly from the southern portion of Gemini into Orion.  During a period of fifty minutes, I saw a total of ten meteors, two of them being rather bright (one was as bright or brighter than Sirius) but most in the range of second to third magnitude and most traveling in the direction of Leo.  I was going to observe for an hour but after seeing the tenth meteor I went back inside to warm up and to have a cup of hot chocolate.
 
I was back outside by shortly after 4:30 a.m. EST.  It took even longer for the next meteor to appear than it had for the first one of the morning.  By the time my total count had reached fifteen or so, I was ready to call it quits.  Some thin, patchy clouds were beginning to cross the sky and I was feeling rather cold.  However, the clouds petered off and I saw a couple more meteors fairly quickly, including one passing overhead that was brighter than zero magnitude, so I kept watching.  My perseverance paid off, as my nineteenth Geminid was the best of the morning.  It was brighter than Jupiter and appeared east of Pollux, shooting very rapidly eastward for a distance similar to the span between Pollux and Castor.  It took quite a while for me to catch my twentieth Geminid.  By then, a little more than an hour had passed and I retired immediately for the warmth of my bed.

In all, I saw twenty Geminid meteors (and three possible meteors caught with peripheral vision), four of them being notably bright and one being quite memorable, in a period of a little less than two hours, a total far better than I had expected.

Dave Mitsky       

Sic itur ad astra!

Chance favors the prepared mind.

A man is a small thing, and the night is very large and full of wonders.

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