Thursday, December 10, 2009

Geminids - more star showers

Did you see the Leonid meteor showers in November?

Last month, very early on November 17, I got up at 1 a.m. as it was to be the prime viewing for the Leonids. I admit it. I did not leave the comfort of my home, as I looked out the windows in all directions. And I did not see any falling stars this time. Sleep overcame me and I went back to my warm bed.

I was not alone in my defeat. That night (November 16), an episode of the TV show, The Big Bang Theory: The Adhesive Duck Deficiency showed that the rocket scientists missed viewing the Leonids, too. And they were outside camping.

Good news for star gazers. This December 13 & 14, the Geminids should be at least ten times as good. And there is a much better chance of seeing this meteor shower.

So what are the Geminids? Each December 12 to 14, the earth's atmosphere passes through the debris of an object called 3200 Phatheon, thought to be an extinct comet. This JPL applet provides an excellent simulation of the cause of this meteor shower: 3200 Phaethon (1983 TB)

Universe Today offers some excellent viewing tips: Tips for Viewing the Geminid Meteor Shower.

I do not know if I will be brave enough to shiver out in the snow. Most likely I will be viewing the stars from the comfort of a warm house.

Please share any cool experience you had viewing the nighttime sky.

For more information on this meteor shower, check out Sky and Telescope: Geminids: An exception to the rule

One final thought. I cannot count the stars, nor name them, but there is Someone Who does:

He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names.
Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.
Psalm 147:4-5 (King James Version)

Photo from:

Astronomy Picture of the Day: Geminid meteor shower

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