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Geminids Meteor Shower 2020

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#1 tjw1012

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Posted 21 November 2020 - 10:37 PM

Hello all,

I made an informative video about the Geminids for 2020! Enjoy! :) https://www.youtube....h?v=NIQlzzaMMCs

Thanks!


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#2 Sheol

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 07:47 PM

             A shower I will be checking out, unless weather or health interferes with my plans. I have seen a couple of truly stunning fireballs in December in the past. The one in 2008 really stands out. I hope I can catch some meteors. Will make up for the Perseids being a no show for me this past summer. Thanks for that information!

 

   Clear Skies,

      Matt.


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#3 tjw1012

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 08:12 PM

             A shower I will be checking out, unless weather or health interferes with my plans. I have seen a couple of truly stunning fireballs in December in the past. The one in 2008 really stands out. I hope I can catch some meteors. Will make up for the Perseids being a no show for me this past summer. Thanks for that information!

 

   Clear Skies,

      Matt.

Thanks Matt! Yeah the Persieds were clouded out for me too this year :( . Hopefully winter clouds dont ruin this one!



#4 Jure Atanackov

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 03:32 PM

Hello all,

I made an informative video about the Geminids for 2020! Enjoy! smile.gif https://www.youtube....h?v=NIQlzzaMMCs

Thanks!

Nice video, quite a bit of useful information there. A few comments:

 

- The Geminids *are* the best annual meteor shower. Under properly dark skies you get up to 80-100/h one night before the peak, and up to 40-60/h two nights before the peak. Here's the catch: there is pronounced mass sorting in the meteoroid stream. Meteors in these two nights will be quite faint, significantly fainter than on peak night and after the peak. Two nigths before the peak you can go for hours without seeing a bright Geminid (brighter than 2nd magnitude). Peak night can exceed 200/h under dark skies and indeed has many bright meteors. After the peak the shower diminishes really rapidly, down to 50-70/h the night after the peak.

 

- The thing with Phaethon being a rock comet is, to the best of my knowledge, not that the meteoroids are bigger than with 'ordinary' comets, rather that the asteroid releases the meteoroids by thermal fracturing due to thermal stress rather than release by sublimation and ejection by gas drag. The meteoroid stream likely formed during a catastrophic disruption of the parent body, rather than through periodic release near perhielion. I am not sure the Geminids are, on average, much brighter than other showers (particularly taking the faint pre-peak ones). But as there are many Geminids, there are many bright ones.

 

- The ZHR for the Geminids has been revised recently by the IMO, to 150.

 

- Grazers are superb meteors indeed and the Geminids are your best chance to see them (short of a big outburst with the radiant on the horizon). But that was a rocket launch, wasn't it? smile.gif

CS!Jure


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#5 Sheol

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 07:20 PM

             I sort of think of Phaethon as an old comet that has had all its ices & gasses sublimated off. Just leaving the rocky part behind. BTW, no, I didn't get clouded out, I watched for two hours on either side of midnight back in August. Not but one very dubious meteor. They just were not there. Never had that happen before. Hopefully this shower will be better, if weather cooperates! 

 

   Clear skies,

     Matt.


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#6 chrysalis

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Posted 24 November 2020 - 06:16 AM

This is the one shower I try never to miss when conditions are favorable.


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#7 Sheol

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Posted 25 November 2020 - 07:13 PM

        Never viewed this one. Its seriously this good? Because I here the same said about a shower in January except the weather usually is so cold & atrocious for that one, few try. I'll try this one.

 

   Matt.


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#8 BrooksObs

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Posted 26 November 2020 - 11:24 AM

             I sort of think of Phaethon as an old comet that has had all its ices & gasses sublimated off. Just leaving the rocky part behind. BTW, no, I didn't get clouded out, I watched for two hours on either side of midnight back in August. Not but one very dubious meteor. They just were not there. Never had that happen before. Hopefully this shower will be better, if weather cooperates! 

 

   Clear skies,

     Matt.

You are probably correct, Matt. The idea has never set well with me either. It wouldseem very unlikely that the Geminids were derived from an historically inert body, when all other showers originated from known comets - no longer active or otherwise. Comet astronomers have also long believed that most short period comets likely go through protracted inert phases when they show no apparent active outgassing, eventually "turning back on". Were this cycle not true it would be almost impossible to explain the number of active short period comets known today. P/Encke is currently an object being carefully watched as it is evolving before our eyes! Its pre-T phase is progressively in decline, while post-T a phase - where historically it has been fainter and faded rapidly after perihelion -  is reversing and brightening with several new active areas appearing in recent decades. Likewise, P/Encke was probably inert prior to the 17th century since no record of its being spotted during particularly close approaches to the Earth are recorded (when it should have been an obvious naked-eye object).

 

BrooksObs


Edited by BrooksObs, 26 November 2020 - 11:27 AM.

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#9 tjw1012

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Posted 28 November 2020 - 04:14 PM

        Never viewed this one. Its seriously this good? Because I here the same said about a shower in January except the weather usually is so cold & atrocious for that one, few try. I'll try this one.

 

   Matt.

The Geminids are definitely the best shower you can see. I've seen the Quadrantids which I assume is the one you were talking about and they really aren't good unless you are there at the exact peak time. Their peak only lasts ~4 hours and then the numbers drop rapidly after that.

Thanks so much for watching and I hope its clear for you! :)



#10 Sheol

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Posted 28 November 2020 - 07:20 PM

          Yes, that is always a risk in late Autumn/early Winter. It will rain. Or sleet. Or just be windy or cloudy down here. Anything unpleasant except snow. Used to have snow, but it seems to have taken a powder. ( sorry I couldn't resist that, though I tried. ) Really, it just won't snow here anymore.

          I certainly hope I catch some good weather, because I will try to watch the Geminids this year. After an August with no meteors, I feel a need to see a good shower, no matter what time of year!

 

   Clear Skies,

      Matt.


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#11 ILikePluto

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Posted 03 December 2020 - 06:46 PM



        Never viewed this one. Its seriously this good? 

 

   Matt.

Yes.

 

Cover story in the December 5th Science News by Ken Croswell:  December's Stunning Geminid Meteor Shower


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#12 Sheol

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Posted 03 December 2020 - 07:23 PM

                 Thanks for that Link! Nice article, however, it seems they missed the hypothesis that the "asteroid" is a dead comet nucleus stripped of all gas & ices & most of its dust. That matter is now the Geminid meteor shower. I see it raised frequently in astronomy texts & books. OK, I hope my weather holds for the 13 of December. At least its not a Friday! LOL ( No, I don't really believe in that being bad luck. )

 

             Clear Skies,

                   Matt.


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#13 ILikePluto

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Posted 03 December 2020 - 07:44 PM

That link is from 2020.  It doesn't mention the out-of-date 1980s hypothesis because no scientist working on the problem today believes it.  The current thinking is that Phaethon is an asteroid and may even be a piece of the large asteroid Pallas.  The Japanese spacecraft should tell us more.


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#14 Sheol

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 07:25 PM

                  I have seen it mentioned. Well, anyway, let's see what the probe learns.

 

          Clear Skies,

                Matt.


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#15 REC

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Posted 06 December 2020 - 01:30 PM

They are starting! I saw one last night right above Gemini at 9 pm. Going to dress warmer next time and stay out later until Gemini clears the tree line. This one was fairly bright, and fast!



#16 ILikePluto

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Posted 06 December 2020 - 04:12 PM



                  I have seen it mentioned. Well, anyway, let's see what the probe learns.

 

          Clear Skies,

                Matt.

Yes, incorrect facts and ideas often persist in the popular literature long after the scientists have moved on.  For example, the December 2020 Sky & Telescope incorrectly states that Phaethon comes closer to the Sun than does any other known asteroid.  That was true in the 1980s.  It is not true today.

 

Here is a brand-new website on the Japanese mission to the asteroid Phaethon.



#17 Sheol

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Posted 06 December 2020 - 07:21 PM

                 Even my local News is now saying they should be best Meteor shower of the Year. They also said, more importantly, that the weather will be clear for the night of the 13th. I will be watching.

 

         Clear Skies,

                Matt.



#18 chrysalis

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Posted 08 December 2020 - 04:25 AM

        Never viewed this one. Its seriously this good? Because I here the same said about a shower in January except the weather usually is so cold & atrocious for that one, few try. I'll try this one.

 

   Matt.

The January one you mention is likely the Quandrantids. Unfortunately, it has a very short sharp peak of activity, making observation of the high ZHRs less easy.

 

The two prolific and dependable meteor showers of the year are the Perseids and the Geminids. They both peak over a period of several hours but are active for days on either side of that. Both are typically listed out at 60 meteors/hour. The Perseids I believe have been waning somewhat on recent years, but the Geminids have continued to be reliable. Plus, in the northern hemisphere, at 36.25°N, 80°W, the Perseids in August can be problematic - humidity and showers mainly; whereas the Geminids in December come under cold(er) and lower humidity skies. I'd say the most memorable one for me was a few years ago when I laid out in my backyard for almost three hours under a moonless sky and averaged 83 meteors per hour.


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#19 Sheol

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Posted 08 December 2020 - 07:11 PM

           The Perseids were a bust for me this year. 2 hours without 1 meteor is bad even for a non-shower summer night. Yes, they have faded since the days when I saw the giant green fireball. 

 

     Clear Skies,

          Matt.


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#20 REC

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Posted 09 December 2020 - 01:07 PM

I saw my really first one last night! Very bright, +1 magnitude and long. It went right through the length of Gemini ! Getting may 0 gravity chair and my DSLR ready.


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#21 Sheol

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Posted 09 December 2020 - 07:28 PM

            I'll keep an eye out tonight, but I'm really testing the new 'Scope. Still, sometimes you get lucky.

 

       Clear Skies,

          Matt.


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#22 Abhat

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Posted 11 December 2020 - 06:48 AM

I saw my really first one last night! Very bright, +1 magnitude and long. It went right through the length of Gemini ! Getting may 0 gravity chair and my DSLR ready.

I saw a few last night in 30 minutes and then came inside due to cold. Did the showers start early?



#23 Jure Atanackov

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Posted 11 December 2020 - 09:05 AM

The Geminids are quite nice even 2 to 3 nights before the peak, with 20 Geminids/h 3 nights before the peak, 40-50/h 2 nights before the peak and 80-100/h the night before the peak. They tend to be fainter before the peak than at peak.

CS!Jure


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#24 chrysalis

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Posted 12 December 2020 - 03:13 AM

Not looking good here...clouds in the forecast...



#25 Jure Atanackov

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Posted 12 December 2020 - 06:16 AM

Looking bad for pre-peak night, but very good for peak and post-peak nights. That being said, we are in a pretty constraining lockdown - no leaving the municipality and curfew between 21h and 6h. :/ (for the 8th week now and no improvement ...)




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