Posts Tagged ‘geminid meteor showers’

Geminid Meteor Shower To Show Through The Moonlight Friday Night

December 9, 2013 Leave a comment

The annual Geminid meteor shower, one of the best shooting-star displays each year, returns to our skies late this week. Skygazers and nature enthusiasts throughout the Northern Hemisphere will be out watching. Anyone can join in. You need no equipment and no special knowledge.

Every year in mid-December, Earth passes through a stream of rock bits that are being shed by a superheated asteroid named 3200 Phaethon. In 2013 we should see the meteor shower at its most active from 9 or 10 p.m. (local time) on Friday December 13th until the first light of dawn Saturday morning.

“We’ll have interference from moonlight in the sky this year,” says Robert Naeye, editor in chief of Sky & Telescope magazine, “but the brighter meteors will shine through anyway. You’ll probably see quite a few.”

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Geminid Meteor Shower Coming On December 13–14

December 9, 2012 Leave a comment

If it’s clear late Thursday night, December 13th, 2012, keep a lookout high overhead for the shooting stars of the Geminid meteor shower. “The Geminids are usually one of the two best meteor showers of the year,” says Alan MacRobert, senior editor at Sky & Telescope magazine. “They may beat out the Perseids of August.” This year’s showing has the added benefit of reduced celestial competition — thanks to the new Moon, no moonlight will interfere with meteor counting.

Under a clear, dark sky, you may see a shooting star every minute from 10 p.m. local time Thursday until dawn Friday morning. If you live under the artificial skyglow of light pollution the numbers will be less, but the brightest meteors will still shine through.

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Quadrantids Will Create Brief, Beautiful Show on Jan. 4

December 23, 2011 Leave a comment

Image Credit: NASA/MSFC/MEO/B. Cooke

The 2012 Quadrantids, a little-known meteor shower named after an extinct constellation, will present an excellent chance for hardy souls to start the year off with some late-night meteor watching.

Peaking in the wee morning hours of Jan. 4, the Quadrantids have a maximum rate of about 100 per hour, varying between 60-200. The waxing gibbous moon will set around 3 a.m. local time, leaving about two hours of excellent meteor observing before dawn. It’s a good thing, too, because unlike the more famous Perseid and Geminid meteor showers, the Quadrantids only last a few hours — it’s the morning of Jan. 4, or nothing.

Like the Geminids, the Quadrantids originate from an asteroid, called 2003 EH1. Dynamical studies suggest that this body could very well be a piece of a comet which broke apart several centuries ago, and that the meteors you will see before dawn on Jan. 4 are the small debris from this fragmentation. After hundreds of years orbiting the sun, they will enter our atmosphere at 90,000 mph, burning up 50 miles above Earth’s surface — a fiery end to a long journey!

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