Friday, November 30, 2007

Geminids meteor shower 12/13/07

The Geminids is usually the best meteor shower along with the August Perseids during the year. The moon will be setting early after sunset so that will make observing more meteors. The meteor shower has many bright meteors and sometime trails called trains. Many are yellow. With bright ones and fainter ones you might see 60 per minute if you are looking at a dark sky site. (For me I never see that many no matter as I am busy writing down information about each meteor as fast as I can so I can back to watching after shutting off my red light ). I do this for research for the Meteor Society. Then I have a record of what I do too for the Meteor Observer Award for the Astronomical League.

Due to the meteor swarms orbit and orientation, the Geminid meteor shower rates rise slower than they fall (better before the peak for those in Asia it is early hours of Sat morning (where it will be the best).
In N .America , the Geminids will peak on 9-10 pm Thursday Dec 13th and onward through the night to dawn on Friday morning (12am-6am).Friday evening (if you want to try) will start well early in evening then decline as it goes towards later part of the evening and morning.

During the early evening you might also see some meteors called Earthgrazers that show early and skim through the tops of the atmosphere. These are usually very bright and long. I saw a very bright Perseid earthgrazer a couple of years ago during the Perseids and it rose from the East like a big orange firecracker , sparkling along its path

Many meteor showers are associated with comets which have left the meteoroids in their wake and "shower " us at certain times of the year. This one however is known to associated with not a comet but an asteroid called Phaethon. It is possibly an ancient dead comet that has and keep leaving more particles in its wake easy December.

The weather can still be mild so it is a great time to see some bright meteors. Use a lawn chair and take a sleeping bag and also bundle up with sweater, jacket etc

? let know

Good luck.

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