Geminid Meteors - Dec 12-13
Posted 12 December 2012 - 09:42 PM
The constellation Gemini is the radiant, meaning the meteors’ tails appear to be pointing back toward it. However, the meteors are about as likely to appear anywhere in your sky.
Unlike most meteor showers, the Geminids are believed to be remnants of an asteroid rather than a comet. They were first observed in 1862, far more recently than most of the major showers. The display has been increasing in intensity in recent years, with reports averaging two meteors per minute. The Dark Moon will provide no hindrance this year.
I provide a calendar of upcoming meteor showers that includes Moon illumination information at: www.CurtRenz.com/asteroids
Descriptions and perhaps lucky photos of the meteors would be welcome additions to this thread.
Posted 12 December 2012 - 10:22 PM
Posted 13 December 2012 - 09:26 PM
Posted 14 December 2012 - 12:08 AM
Posted 14 December 2012 - 06:43 AM
Posted 14 December 2012 - 06:57 AM
We also had the 8 SE set up and were catching a few sights between looking for meteors. The night sky here in western NC was fantastic and I don't think it gets much better from my area.
Posted 14 December 2012 - 07:56 AM
Posted 14 December 2012 - 08:00 AM
Posted 14 December 2012 - 09:42 AM
Most of the Geminids that I witnessed were rather slow. Many were quite bright. At least 20 of them were first magnitude or brighter. A number of the meteors were as bright or brighter than Sirius and a couple of them almost rivaled Jupiter in brightness. All but one were white. That exception showed some green coloration before disappearing. I saw meteors in all four quadrants of the sky throughout the night. Several times meteors appeared in rapid succession in pairs or trios. We saw six Geminids, most of them bright, in the southeast in the span of a couple of minutes time at one point.
Unfortunately, the two times that the ground was illuminated I was facing the wrong direction so I missed those fireballs. The first occurred between 2:15 and 2:20 a.m. EST. The second and brighter one took place close to 5:00 a.m. EST.
It got rather cold during the session. The temperature dropped to 22 degrees Fahrenheit (-6 degrees Celsius). The humidity was fairly high which made it seem even colder. On the other hand, there was very little wind.
All in all, this year's Geminids was the best meteor shower that I've seen in quite some time.
Posted 14 December 2012 - 11:34 AM
Posted 14 December 2012 - 11:59 AM
I had learned of a storm heading to Albuquerque, so I decided to view the shower on Wednesday night (Dec 12th), which is a little before the peak of the event. I was not disappointed, seeing 45 meteor trails in the hour I was outside, as follows:
10:15 to 10:30 = 10 meteor trails
10:30 to 10:45 = 12
10:45 to 11:00 = 6
11:00 to 11:15 = 17
These somewhat random events, both in time and location, were more than I expected. A few trails were rather dim, a few were somewhat bright, and almost all were short in length but slow in speed. One, at about 11:11 PM, was long and bright as it moved along the entire eastern edge of Gemini from north to south. The local weather was about 30 F, 1-3 mph wind, and generally clear (I was able to easily see the outline of the Milky Way, the Double Cluster in Perseus, and the Beehive Cluster in Cancer).
Seeing the Geminid meteor shower was worthwhile for me, and I got to also enjoy seeing the winter sky rise from the Sandias in the quiet outdoors.
In fact, it was so enjoyable that I decided to try to repeat the observing on Thursday night (Dec 13th). When I was getting situated I noticed that the haze/thin clouds obscured faint stars, but I could still just see the dagger/sword stars of Orion, and then I saw a very bright meteor trail. Great, there was potential, and the night was 10 degrees warmer, too! As I settled in for the shower, I observed the following:
10:15 to 10:30 = 4 meteor trails
10:30 to 10:45 = 0
The haze was getting thicker, and I lost sight of the stars in Orion, then Sirius, then Castor and Pollux, but I could still see Jupiter high overhead. However this thick haze, and a 15-minute count of zero, made me decide to go in for the night. My folly of trying to observe again resulted in seeing 4 really bright and long meteor trails, and one faint one, in about 30 minutes. Astronomy sure does defer to the whims of weather, but good viewing is just fantastic!
Posted 18 December 2012 - 08:02 PM
Here's my Geminid 2012 Visual Meteor Observations
And the Geminid activity profile plus a world map of observers, plus individual reports summary visual data
It's a fun way to contribute to citizen science!