Monday, December 10, 2007

Night of Dec 13-14 Geminid Meteor Shower Predicted to be Fine

In North America the night of December 13-14 should be the best Geminid meteor shower, with 2 am as the peak viewing time. The show will continue the following night

Bursts of meteors that take place on roughly the same dates every year are given the name of the constellation from which they appear to originate. Thus the December shower has the constellation Gemini as its radiant (the apparent point of origin).

The darker the sky is, the better the viewing. Not since 1996 has the sky been so dark for the Geminids. This year the moon will be a mere sliver on that date, offering a dark backdrop for the shower. In 1996, observers recorded seeing up to 110 meteors in an hour.

When Earth passes through fields of debris left behind by orbiting comets we see the debris burning in our atmosphere. We call these burning rocks shooting stars, or meteors.

Read more at Sky and Telescope
Read more at National Geographic
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