Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Geminid Meteors are Coming

This month, planet Earth will barge it's way through a stream of debris left by the extinct comet now asteroid 3200 Phaethon. This happens every year around this time resulting in what we call the Geminids Meteor Shower because the meteors appear to come from the constellation Gemini.

This year's Geminid meteor shower should peak around the 13th and 14th of the month. The moon shouldn't be much of a problem as far as light pollution goes as it will be setting around midnight, which is a good time to head out to catch the meteors. We usually like to head out around that time or just a bit later. The Geminids usually produce about fifty meteors and hour on a pretty regular basis making it one of the best showers of the year.

So if you haven't got anything better to do in the wee morning hours of the 14th head outside and look up. Of course you'll need to bundle up to the point you look like a cross between Randy in "A Christmas Story" and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. It's okay though as all that padding will make you comfy for laying down as that is the best way to view a meteor shower. Otherwise, you might end up with a sore neck within minutes.

Don't be dismayed if you have to get up early the next morning and that prevents you from getting out to watch the shower. You can go out the weekend prior to the 13th/14th, that is provided the skies are clear, and watch for them because Geminids start flying through the night sky around December 1st and continue through to the 18th. It just happens that the 13th/14th is the peak and usually produces the best rate of meteors per hour.

So everyone be sure to pray for clear skies next week as we would love to get out and freeze, err I mean, watch the meteor shower.

Happy Trails,
Tim and Robin