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Published on December 6th, 2012 | by James Ayre

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Geminids Meteor Shower Peaks December 13-14, 2012

The Geminids meteor shower will be peaking the night of December 13, 2012, this year. The Geminids are regularly one of the best meteor showers of the year, and are looking to be especially spectacular this year, as the peak coincides with the new moon.

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The last large meteor shower of every year, the Geminids produce an incredible 50 or more meteors per hour. While the peak is occurring the night/early morning of the 13/14, the meteor shower will be very visible for a couple of nights before and after that.

And in contrast to most meteor showers, you can start watching for the very early in the night, by 9 or 10 p.m. in your local time. The peak will be hitting sometime around 2 a.m. local time on these nights, “because that’s when the shower’s radiant point is highest in the sky as seen around the world. With no moon to ruin the show, 2012 presents a most favorable year for watching the grand finale of the meteor showers. Best viewing of the Geminids will probably be from about 1 a.m. to 3 a.m. on December 14.”

And if you live in more northern latitudes, there is always the possibility of solar activity creating auroras to watch along with the meteor shower.


Some basic tips on watching meteor showers are below:

One: Get in a comfortable position, a reclining lawn chair and some blankets are good ideas.

Two: Dress warmly, and maybe bring something warm to drink.

Three: Get out of the city if you can, the light pollution from city lights greatly diminishes the number and intensity of of the meteors that you can see. A clear, dark sky is what you want.

Some background on the Geminids:

“The Geminids are a meteor shower caused by the object 3200 Phaethon, which is thought to be a Palladian asteroid with a “rock comet” orbit. This would make the Geminids, together with the Quadrantids, the only major meteor showers not originating from a comet. The meteors from this shower are slow moving, can be seen in December and usually peak around the 13th – 14th of the month, with the date of highest intensity being the morning of the 14th. The shower is thought to be intensifying every year and recent showers have seen 120–160 meteors per hour under optimal conditions, generally around 2am to 3am local time. Geminids were first observed in 1862, much more recently than other showers such as the Perseids (36 AD) and Leonids (902 AD).”

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“The meteors in this shower appear to come from a radiant in the constellation Gemini (hence the shower’s name). However, they can appear almost anywhere in the night sky, and often appear yellowish in hue. The meteors travel at medium speed in relation to other showers, at about 22 miles per second, making them fairly easy to spot. The Geminids are now considered by many to be the most consistent and active annual shower. Geminids disappear while at heights above 38 kilometres (24 mi).”

“In 2005, viewing of the shower was restricted due to a full moon washing out the fainter meteors. The 2006 shower had a less full moon, however the 2007 shower was a new moon, with the best viewing position being in the southern hemisphere, with Australia, New Zealand and Chile being noted spectacle locales. In 2008, the Geminids coincided with a full moon. In 2009, the peak date occurred two days before a new moon.”

Source: EarthSky and Wikipedia

Image Credits: Geminids and Phaethon via Wikimedia Commons




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About the Author

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.



  • Paul Felix Schott

     How many Satellites will this one take out.

    Do a little History on this one.

    ALL Should Look Up “2012 DA14″.

    This
    could take out one of more satellites and the junk and debris from the
    hit could end up taking out many more satellites very soon after that.
    All the satellite collision probability will go way up if even one is
    hit. The velocity that the parts would go to would make them missiles
    that would start targeting a chain reaction this would not be good.

    Most
    all will be watching this one and pray it goes by us with out a hit.
    Every Scientist alive will be watching this event. Many will be in
    Florida for a very special viewing of the once in a Lifetime Event.
    Professors, Scientist, World Leaders, Ham Radio Operators and Every
    Astronomer will have its eyes on This Event, along with almost every TV
    set on Earth. 

     ”2012
    DA14″ goes by Earth twice a year and there is no way anyone for sure
    can tell how close the second pass will be till it passes by the Moon
    and Earth and the GRAVITATIONAL FORCE effect that it will have on this
    Asteroid.

    They may come close but this one is already coming
    very close to begin with. Too close this time or on its second or 3rd
    pass? Ad a Meteor Shower like the 13 and 14 of December of this year, it
    might go through or bump into one of them? Or all the other orbital
    debris like Spent Rocket Boosters left in space that can no longer be
    moved by a control center on Earth.

    If a big enough one were to
    slam into the moon in the night sky you would think the sun was coming
    up early only it would be 5 to 7 times as bright. From The Sun’s Rays
    Reflection on all the Debris Field.

    If this Meteor Shower is big enough you might think all the stars are falling from Heaven.

    Read your Bible
    While you still can,
    and May
    our Lord GOD Bless all that do so.
    John 14 : 6
    Luke 13 : 27
    Matthew 7 : 20 – 27

    The Lord’s Little Helper.
    Paul Felix Schott.

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