Friday, December 14, 2007

Great Geminids Meteor Shower:Best since 2002 Geminids & 2001 Leonids

What a show! I headed south to Powell observatory (20 minutes away from Olathe KS ) near Kansas City ( where I could view all around from almost horizon to horizon. I was glad I did.

The sky was very clear. I camped out with my sleeping bag, deck chair and pad and red light. I surprised no one else was there. That's too bad.

I saw a -2 Geminid (brightness of Venus) right away. The meteors just started falling all around in every direction. From 1:38- 3:19 I saw 45 meteors ranging from -4 mag to 4 magnitude (it was that clear). Unfortunetly while many were bright they were almost all white which is strange because many Geminids are usually yellow.

Most were bright, without tails (trains) and were 5-15 degrees long.
Several times two would appear right after another. There was a yellow one however that left a 0.75 second train. Most (like many Geminids) were 0.5 second in duration although a few were faster.

I actually would have seen more but I always plot the information about each meteor (for the American Meteor Society) so I can send the data in. Each plot takes 30 or so seconds to turn on red light and write.

Clouds and fog moved in but stayed away. I left earlier to go back as I had school the next day to teach and I was cold even though I had bundled up and it was in 20 to 30 degrees.
I wanted to stay longer but my legs were getting frozen (it was 20 degrees ) eventhough I was in a sleeping bag.

This 2007 shower ranked up with the
2002 Geminid shower when I saw 50 bright and more colorful meteors in around 2 hours. The 2001 Leonids was even better but the meteors were fainter on the average.
Probably one of the top ten showers I have ever seen (since 1963).

(see for photos of Geminids including an all sky camera shot of over hundred meteors (look for 12/16 in archives if not on main page).
Next up Quadrantids January 3-4.


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