Geminids meteor showers on show tonight – cloud cover permitting.

Posted: December 13, 2012 by tallbloke in Astronomy, Astrophysics, Clouds, cosmic rays, Forecasting, solar system dynamics

From the BBC:

geminids

The annual Geminids meteor shower will reach its peak late on Thursday night and into early Friday morning.

The meteors will appear to radiate from a point near the star Castor, in the constellation Gemini.

In the Northern hemisphere, that will be westward and nearly overhead in the early hours of Friday.

Sky watchers can expect an average of dozens of “shooting stars” per hour, made easier to see by darkness provided by the “new moon” phase.

The shower comes about each year as the Earth passes through the path of an asteroid called 3200 Phaethon.

The asteroid leaves behind a trail of rocky debris that the Earth ploughs into each year – debris moving at 35km per second that burns up in the atmosphere in what can be spectacular displays.

According to the International Meteor Organization, the “radiant” – the apparent point from which the meteors seem to come – will be visible from sunset in high northern latitudes, rising at about midnight local time in the southern hemisphere.

“For those old enough or tough enough to stay up until two in the morning, then the radiant point [in the Northern hemisphere] is almost overhead so you could basically look anywhere and see them,” Robert Massey of the Royal Astronomical Society told BBC News. “Go outside, wrap up well, get yourself into a comfortable chair, relax, and enjoy the view.

“It could be 30 [meteors] an hour, it could be 100 an hour. But those are only average figures there maybe a period of 10 minutes that you don’t see anything but equally there may be a period of 10 minutes when you see 30.”

Comments
  1. AJB says:

    Not forgetting the possibility of new one criss-crossing …

    http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2012/11dec_newshower

    Could be quite a show.

  2. tchannon says:

    Normal England, overcast and now falling from 1C here with drizzle, 0.4C last time I looked. As rain arrives the temperature will rise 10C and the wind will blow.