Posted by: Jerry Garrett | December 13, 2012

Worth Watching: Geminid Meteor Shower 12-14-12

geminidsskymap

Check out the Geminids Meteor Shower early Dec. 14, 2012 (NASA)

The Geminid Meteor Shower peaks in the wee hours of December 14, 2012. And although it will likely be a cold night, this year’s version might be worth a look.

Why?

1. Almost no moon glow to spoil the show! The night of Dec. 13-14 is actually a night of the null moon, this time around.

2. Skies will be especially dark, and the cold weather can actually magnify the clarity of the skies. And if skies are clear, more than 100 meteors an hour should be visible. Some years, the Geminids have produced up to 160 meteors per hour.

3. The Geminids seem to move more slowly than other meteors, from showers such as the Leonids, Orionids and Perseids. Perhaps this is because they originate from an asteroid that passes Earth, and not a comet, like the other big meteor showers.

The Geminids are a fairly recent astronomical phenomenon, having been seen only since the time of the American Civil War. The Perseids, Leonids, etc., have been around many hundreds, if not thousands of years.

And the best thing of all about the Geminids: they seem to be getting better each year. So bundle up. For best viewing, check the western skies around you about 2:00-3:00 a.m. local time. (The Geminids seem to rise in the northeastern sky after sunset, and track across the sky to set in the west/southwest about dawn; thanks to the terrific StarWalk app for this not-readily available info.) And happy meteor hunting!

P.S. If you are too lazy to go outside, watch the meteors live on NASA’s webcam: http://www.nasa.gov/connect/chat/geminids2012.html

P.P.S. If you miss them entirely the morning of the 14th, don’t despair. Some meteors still should be visible up about the same time the mornings of the 15th, 16th and 17th.

Jerry Garrett

December 13, 2012

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Responses

  1. 12/13/12 from 9:05pm to 10:00pm eastern time we saw 51in central ga. some lasted over 2 seconds. great show

    • Envious! It was cloudy and rainy all night in our neck of the woods. Again. Just like last month’s meteor shower.

  2. Fantastic show, clear, dark, cloudless sky provided the best show I can recall seeing maybe ever. Very large and bright, slow moving and plenty of them. Whatashow

    • PS. We are in Northeastern North Carolina…..

  3. what time can i watch the geminids meteor shower, i’m here in asia. :) Please reply. Thank you!

    • Generally it is the same time everywhere, as the sky moves overhead of where you are. The Geminids rise in the northeastern sky after sunset, and they cross the sky, and set in the west-southwest just before dawn. Best times are generally after midnight, and before 4 a.m.

  4. I am at lake Greenwood SC and before we got unusualy cold for here we saw 47 metros!!! It was beautiful!

  5. We saw four meteors in the afternoon. They were going very slow compaired to most meteor showers. I video taped it on my phone. Now I have to figure out how to get it on my computer. My phone says the video is too large to transfer. Any suggestions?

    • I get that message on my phone too. You can shorten the videos on the phone, and try to send them in segments. If you have an iPhone, I guess you can sync your videos with your iCloud account, and then use your computer to access the videos in iCloud. I’m no video expert, though!

  6. I saw one of the widest I have ever seen going home from work Friday morning.Not only was it the widest but it was a very bright light blue.It was visible for several seconds before it disappeared.


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