Geminid meteor 2012 | credits Henry Shaw
2014 has been a awesome year on science in the sky. The Camélopardalides (May/mai), the Summer Super moons (July), the Perseids (August), the Orionid shower (October), and now we are preparing to watch the Geminids.
After the Perseids took a battering from the Moon last August, the Geminids will provide the best meteor display of 2014. The shower’s been strengthening in recent years and now surpasses every major shower of the year.
The Geminids – so called because the apparent source of their trails is placed in the constellation of Gemini (the Twins) - originates from an asteroid, (3200) Phaethon, this making them one of the only two showers sharing this feature.
The Geminids are considered to be one of the more spectacular meteor shower during a year, with the possibility of sighting around 120 meteors per hour at its peak.
Since the return of this rich and reliable annual meteor shower occurs around 6 a.m. (CST) on Sunday December 14th, both Saturday and Sunday nights will be equally good for meteor watching.
Time lapse-photo showing the Geminids over Pendleton, OR.
credits : Thomas W. Earle
credits : ScienceNASA
In 2014, the Geminids will peak in two days, between December 13 and 14. A 3rd quarter moon may make it too bright for observers to view the shower.
Where to view the Geminids :
When to view the Geminids :
How to view the Geminids :
Shower watching is a total blast because it’s so simple. Your only task is to dress warmly and get comfortable in a reclining chair aware from the unholy glare of unshielded lighting. The rest is looking up. Geminid meteors will flash anywhere in the sky, so picking a direction to watch the shower isn’t critical. I usually face east or southeast for the bonus view of Orion lumbering up from
Most of us will head out Saturday or Sunday night and take in the shower for pure enjoyment, but if you’d like to share your observations and contribute a bit of knowledge to our understanding of the Geminids.
Italian astronomer Gianluca Masi will webcast the shower starting at 8 p.m. CST December 13th (2 a.m. UT Dec. 14) on his Virtual Telescope Project site.
Hey ! Don't forget ! The peak of the Geminid meteor shower in 2014 is probably the night of December 13-14. The last quarter moon in the morning hours should not obtrude too greatly on the great celestial light show.
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