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lamplight
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Reged: 09/18/12

Loc: western MA, U.S.
Question on observing the Geminids this week new
      #5564633 - 12/10/12 06:05 PM

A I've been looking forward to this for weeks after seeing an incredible fireball a couple months back.. Forget which meteor shower that was though.. Anyhow.. Reading the sky and telescope article on The Geminids it looks like the radiant point is near Castor, one of the "heads" of the twins. It occurred to me to ask: has anyone ever tried aiming their scope at the radiant point? It seems to me in theory I might be able to some objects not visible to the naked eye? Or is it too fine/small, only visible once it starts burn up? The article describes it as rubble, the size of sand and pebbles.. BUT .. The big one I saw couldn't have been that small, could it? And i see meteorite streaks all the time.. Can the sources of these larger streaks across the sky be that small? Even the fireballs that you can see burning with huge smoke trails?

In any case I'm looking forward to some clear skies that night.. As usual it's a 50/50 shot.. The forecast does not look great though...


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Dave74
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Reged: 10/23/12

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Re: Question on observing the Geminids this week new [Re: lamplight]
      #5564696 - 12/10/12 06:41 PM

Tonight doesn't look so hot, but later in the week looks pretty good.

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lamplight
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Reged: 09/18/12

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Re: Question on observing the Geminids this week new [Re: Dave74]
      #5564706 - 12/10/12 06:50 PM

Yes, Weds and thurs possibles!

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Tony Flanders
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Re: Question on observing the Geminids this week new [Re: lamplight]
      #5564780 - 12/10/12 07:52 PM

Quote:

Has anyone ever tried aiming their scope at the radiant point? It seems to me in theory I might be able to some objects not visible to the naked eye?




Certainly. I see meteors through my telescope all the time, and the rate obviously picks up during a meteor shower. Meteors come in a full range of brightnesses, from ones that can obliterate cities down to ones undetectable by the most sensitive instruments.

However, you'll see more meteors naked-eye than through a telescope due to the wider field of view.

Quote:

The article describes it as rubble, the size of sand and pebbles.. BUT .. The big one I saw couldn't have been that small, could it?




You'd be surprised! First of all, even fairly faint lights can be seen a long way off at night. A 60-watt light bulb appears quite bright from a mile away.

Second, don't underestimate the amount of energy carried by a pebble. These things are hitting the atmosphere at typical speeds of 20 to 40 miles per second. A high-speed armor-piercing bullet leaves the gun's muzzle at 1 mile per second.

An object's energy is proportional to the square of its velocity. So a rock the same mass as a bullet -- that's not much! -- carries 400 to 1600 times as much energy as you need to destroy a military tank. That's a mighty lot of energy!

Obviously there are bigger rocks, too. Those are the ones that light up the entire landscape.


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kfiscus
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Re: Question on observing the Geminids this week new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5564877 - 12/10/12 08:48 PM

I doubt you'd have anywhere near wide enough field of view to catch many.

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lamplight
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Re: Question on observing the Geminids this week new [Re: kfiscus]
      #5564884 - 12/10/12 08:54 PM

Ok , refractor it is

Seriously I think ill take a few looks on that area and stick to naked eye.. Want to get some photos too.. which would be baked eye of course.. but just wanted to ask this question. Thanks! Btw picked up skywatch mag in supermarket last night and enjoying your articles tony! That magazine is making me itch for AP. must resist. For the time being..


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MikeBOKC
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Re: Question on observing the Geminids this week new [Re: lamplight]
      #5564929 - 12/10/12 09:24 PM

The best way to observe a meteor shower is just to lie on your back or in a reclining chair and look naked eye in the general direction of the radiant area. It can also be fun to keep a pen and notepad handy, record the time you start observing and make tick marks for each one seen. Then at the end of the session figure the elapsed time in minutes and do a little simple division and estimate the number per minute and hour. A good shower will give you some fun nunbers, maybe up to several per minute.

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lamplight
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Re: Question on observing the Geminids this week new [Re: MikeBOKC]
      #5565107 - 12/10/12 11:24 PM

Recliner and heated motorcycle jacket Lined up for the wife.. She can only do 9-10pm (work next day), so who knows...
I'll be at the scope most likely


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DavidC
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Reged: 11/24/05

Loc: Mesa, Arizona
Re: Question on observing the Geminids this week new [Re: lamplight]
      #5565112 - 12/10/12 11:25 PM

There is supposed to be a good showing of meteors on Wednesday and peaking on Thursday about midnight. Thursday is supposed to be 80% cloud cover and some rain out here by 1800 Thursday, so I'm going out observing on Wednesday night, and hoping for the best.
David


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stargazer424
sage


Reged: 10/03/05

Loc: Central NJ
Re: Question on observing the Geminids this week new [Re: DavidC]
      #5565126 - 12/10/12 11:33 PM

Why do they always schedule the peak of meteor showers on week nights? I think they should postpone it until the weekend...

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CosmoSat
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Reged: 07/24/09

Loc: India
Re: Question on observing the Geminids this week new [Re: stargazer424]
      #5565175 - 12/11/12 12:01 AM

Atleast they scheduled it during the new moon day this time!

Clear Skies!


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Meadeball
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Reged: 10/22/12

Loc: Midlothian, Virginia
Re: Question on observing the Geminids this week new [Re: CosmoSat]
      #5565221 - 12/11/12 12:30 AM

"Sometimes there just aren't enough rocks."

-- Forrest Gump


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Mark9473
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Reged: 07/21/05

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Re: Question on observing the Geminids this week new [Re: lamplight]
      #5565410 - 12/11/12 05:03 AM

Quote:

It occurred to me to ask: has anyone ever tried aiming their scope at the radiant point? It seems to me in theory I might be able to some objects not visible to the naked eye? Or is it too fine/small, only visible once it starts burn up? The article describes it as rubble, the size of sand and pebbles.. BUT .. The big one I saw couldn't have been that small, could it? And i see meteorite streaks all the time.. Can the sources of these larger streaks across the sky be that small? Even the fireballs that you can see burning with huge smoke trails?




You will never see the actual meteoroid in space, that is the particle before it enters the atmosphere and burns up as a meteor. Even impressive fireballs are typically fist sized or smaller. Anything significantly larger will make the television news.

You do have a *very small* chance of seeing a head-on meteor when you aim for the radiant. Perhaps one or two in a total night of maximum activity. You're better off aiming your scope some 20 or so away from the radiant point - you'll see more meteors. Binoculars work better in fact, but still won't match the naked eye activity rate.

One of the really cool things to do for the Geminids, is to just watch with the naked eye, but when you see a bright one then quickly aim your binoculars in that direction. You can sometimes see the persistent train dissipate for a much longer time (up to a minute or so) than you could with the naked eye. Use something like 7x35 or 10x50 binoculars - nothing bigger, they're too hard to aim.


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lamplight
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Reged: 09/18/12

Loc: western MA, U.S.
Re: Question on observing the Geminids this week new [Re: Mark9473]
      #5566829 - 12/12/12 12:09 AM

Saw three tonight while not glued to scope (there wer probably more) , that's more than usual.' So it begins..

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frito
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 10/05/12

Loc: Fremont, CA
Re: Question on observing the Geminids this week new [Re: lamplight]
      #5566862 - 12/12/12 12:40 AM

yep i was out at a semi-dark site last night observing and saw a handful of them without even looking for them.

best bet is a chair you can lay back in and comfortably keep the biggest FOV of the sky in your field of view and get dark adapted. some low power bino's to keep one occupied could be good as well. last night i did have one streak across the view in my eyepiece while i was looking at something. cool yes but moved to fast to see any more than you would without help, really likely saw less because i only saw it streak across for a split second.


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lamplight
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 09/18/12

Loc: western MA, U.S.
Re: Question on observing the Geminids this week [Re: frito]
      #5566909 - 12/12/12 01:50 AM

Biggest event tonight was a helicopter from the northeast heading southwest with a spotlight shining to the ground that went ring over/at me.

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CosmoSat
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 07/24/09

Loc: India
Re: Question on observing the Geminids this week new [Re: lamplight]
      #5566990 - 12/12/12 05:19 AM

Maybe we are in for a double treat! New meteor shower might coincide with 2012 Geminids!

Clear Skies!


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REC
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Reged: 10/20/10

Loc: NC
Re: Question on observing the Geminids this week new [Re: CosmoSat]
      #5567417 - 12/12/12 11:56 AM

Looking forward for tomorrow night! Bino's cameras, scopes!

Supposed to be clear and can start early


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JoLo
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Reged: 02/09/10

Loc: Highland, IL
Re: Question on observing the Geminids this week new [Re: REC]
      #5567600 - 12/12/12 01:36 PM

I saw five or six in an hour's time last night, forecast is good for the midwest on Thu, I think we are going to have a good show.

The radiant is a point in space where meteorites appear to emanate from, but they are occurring all over the sky in a good event. Pointing a scope or even binos at it means you are going to miss most of them with your small FOV...naked eye and wide camera lenses are your friends here. My best success with capturing meteors on my sensor is with my 20mm wide angle, stopped down from max a step or two. Aim 30 to 45 degrees AWAY from the radiant, to an area of sky that is dark with your given sky, light, and obstruction conditions. For me, that is north or north east of the radiant. Get it setup, and let it rip....if you get two or three nice meteors out of one hundred, you are doing well.


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lamplight
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Reged: 09/18/12

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Re: Question on observing the Geminids this week new [Re: JoLo]
      #5568844 - 12/13/12 09:04 AM

I have a nice fast wide angle for my dslr that ill setup. And hand my wife the cable release while she lounges in lawn chair.

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