Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Winter treat for skywatchers as Geminid meteors sparkle in December sky

Date:
December 10, 2010
Source:
Royal Astronomical Society (RAS)
Summary:
On the evening of December 13th and the morning of the 14th, skywatchers across the northern hemisphere will be looking up as the Geminid meteor shower reaches its peak, in one of the best night sky events of the year. And unlike many astronomical phenomena, meteors are best seen without a telescope (and are perfectly safe to watch).

An all-sky image of the 2004 Geminids meteor shower.
Credit: Chris L. Peterson, Cloudbait Observatory

On the evening of 13 and the morning of 14 December, skywatchers across the northern hemisphere will be looking up as the Geminid meteor shower reaches its peak, in one of the best night sky events of the year. And unlike many astronomical phenomena, meteors are best seen without a telescope (and are perfectly safe to watch).

Related Articles


At its peak and in a clear, dark sky up to 100 'shooting stars' or meteors may be visible each hour. Meteors are the result of small particles entering the Earth's atmosphere at high speed, burning up and super-heating the air around them, which shines as a characteristic short-lived streak of light. In this case the debris is associated with the asteroidal object 3200 Phaethon, which many astronomers believe to be an extinct comet.

The meteors appear to originate from a 'radiant' in the constellation of Gemini, hence the name Geminid. By 0200 GMT on 14 December the radiant will be almost overhead in the UK, making it ideally placed for British observers. By that time the first quarter Moon will have set so the prospects for a good view of the shower are excellent.

Meteors in the Geminid shower are less well known, probably because the weather in December is less reliable. But those who brave the cold can be rewarded with a fine view. In comparison with other showers, Geminid meteors travel fairly slowly, at around 35 km (22 miles) per second, are bright and have a yellowish hue, making them distinct and easy to spot.

This year the peak of the Geminids meteor shower occurs at around 1100 GMT on 14 December, but the highest level activity is spread over a period lasting a day or more. This means that if conditions are clear it is worthwhile observing at any time between Sunday night and Wednesday morning.

As with most astronomical events, the best place to see meteors is at dark sites away from the light pollution of towns and cities. In good weather, rural sites such as Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park in Scotland (where a planned meteorwatch will take place on 13-14 December) are potentially excellent locations to see the Geminid shower.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Royal Astronomical Society (RAS). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Royal Astronomical Society (RAS). "Winter treat for skywatchers as Geminid meteors sparkle in December sky." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 December 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101209125937.htm>.
Royal Astronomical Society (RAS). (2010, December 10). Winter treat for skywatchers as Geminid meteors sparkle in December sky. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 30, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101209125937.htm
Royal Astronomical Society (RAS). "Winter treat for skywatchers as Geminid meteors sparkle in December sky." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101209125937.htm (accessed January 30, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Space & Time News

Friday, January 30, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

NASA Holds Memorial to Remember Astronauts

NASA Holds Memorial to Remember Astronauts

AP (Jan. 29, 2015) NASA is remembering 17 astronauts who were killed in the line of duty and dozens more who have died since the agency&apos;s beginning. A remembrance ceremony was held Thursday at NASA&apos;s Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama. (Jan. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Asteroid's Moon Spotted During Earth Flyby

Asteroid's Moon Spotted During Earth Flyby

Rumble (Jan. 27, 2015) Scientists working with NASA&apos;s Deep Space Network antenna at Goldstone, California discovered an unexpected moon while observing asteroid 2004 BL86 during its recent flyby past Earth. Credit to &apos;NASA JPL&apos;. Video provided by Rumble
Powered by NewsLook.com
Water Fleas Prepare for Space Voyage

Water Fleas Prepare for Space Voyage

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 26, 2015) Scientists are preparing a group of water fleas for a unique voyage into space. The aquatic crustaceans, known as Daphnia, can be used as a miniature model for biomedical research, and their reproductive and swimming behaviour will be tested for signs of stress while on board the International Space Station. Jim Drury went to meet the team. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mars Rover Opportunity Celebrates 11-Year Anniversary

Mars Rover Opportunity Celebrates 11-Year Anniversary

Rumble (Jan. 26, 2015) Eleven years ago NASA&apos;s Opportunity rover touched down on Mars for what was only supposed to be a 90-day mission. Since then it has traveled 25.9 miles (41.7 kilometers), further than any other off-Earth surface vehicle has ever driven. Credit to &apos;NASA&apos;. Video provided by Rumble
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins