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Old 12-11-2009, 03:42 PM   #1
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Default This 13/14 December...Best (Meteor) Shower of 2009 - No Towel Required

Bundle up and get ready to watch a fiery lightshow stirred up by dead comets in Earth's upper atmosphere during the cold of winter in the dead of night. The annual Geminid meteor shower is expected to peak mid-December. Considered one of the more reliable showers by those in the meteor-watching business, the Geminids almost always put on a great show.

"You could expect to see over 100 meteors per hour during the peak viewing," said Don Yeomans, manager of NASA's Near-Earth Object Office at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "During the late evening hours of December 13, look for streaks of light radiating from a point near the star Castor in the constellation of Gemini, which will be high above the eastern horizon for mid-northern latitudes."

While a sign of the zodiac may have provided the name for the meteor shower, scientists have established the source as something more tangible. "We do know that the origin of the Geminids is a Near-Earth object called 3200 Phaeton," said Yeomans. "It is probably the remains of a comet that has burned off its ices after eons looping throughout the solar system. Phaeton has a trail of pebble and dust-sized debris that stream out behind it. Once every mid-December, Earth's orbit carries it into this stream of debris."

Since all other meteors showers are due to the sand-sized particles from active comets, it seems reasonable to assume that Phaeton is, or at least was, a comet. However, Phaeton has shown no cometary activity, so it is classified as an asteroid - the only asteroid to have an associated meteor shower.

"It is important to note that the orbits of Earth and Phaethon itself will not intersect," added Yeomans. "There is no chance the two will meet. But the result of our planet flying through its debris field is an opportunity for science and the chance to see Mother Nature at her best."

This year the peak of the Geminids is expected the night of December 13/14 (9:10 pm PST/12:10 am EST/05:10 UT), coinciding with a nearly perfect new moon. Many tens of meteors per hour will be visible in the few nights surrounding those dates.

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Old 12-12-2009, 12:23 AM   #2
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Default Re: This 13/14 December...Best (Meteor) Shower of 2009 - No Towel Required

Thanks for posting RASKAR AS AR

METEOR RADAR: The US Air Force Space Surveillance Radar is scanning the skies above Texas. When a satellite or meteoroid passes overhead--ping!--there is an echo. Activity is picking up this week as Earth enters a stream of debris from extinct comet 3200 Phaethon, source of the annual Geminid meteor shower. Tune into Spaceweather Radio for live audio. http://spaceweatherradio.com/

GEMINID METEOR WATCH: The Geminid meteor shower is getting underway. The peak won't arrive until Sunday night, Dec. 13th, but observers are already seeing meteors streak across the late-night sky. Elias Jordan reports from Derby, Kansas: "Last night, I went out with a comfortable chair and a nice warm blanket and quickly saw four meteors in only fifteen minutes of observing." He made this self-portrait before dashing back inside to escape the 3 degree F wind chill:

Continues: http://www.spaceweather.com/

Watch live video from an all-sky camera at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The soundtrack on the video feed is a 55 MHz forward-scatter meteor radar. http://www.ustream.tv/channel/marsha...-flight-center

Geminid sky map http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2...ymap_north.gif and viewing tips. http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2...c_geminids.htm

Last edited by peaceandlove; 12-12-2009 at 02:51 AM.
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Old 12-20-2009, 12:02 PM   #3
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Default Re: This 13/14 December...Best (Meteor) Shower of 2009 - No Towel Required

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