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Don’t Miss The Geminid Meteor Shower This Week
Posted on Tuesday, December 11, 2012 by eNature
This year's Geminids should be visible to the naked eye.
This year's Geminids should be visible to the naked eye.
© Brocken Inaglory

December night sky is busy.  We’ll see the Geminid meteor shower, which should be a good one this year because of the new moon. 

And later in the month we have the the Winter solstice— the first day of winter.

The Geminid’s Meteors Should Be Easy to See
The night of the 13th will be the peak of one of the best meteor showers of the year. Known as the Geminid meteor shower, it gets its name because the meteors appear to be zipping towards an observor from the constellation Gemini.  In the United States, head out after dark (best viewing is usually after 9 PM) and look a little north of due east.  As long as you avoid other lights, you should be able to observe this year’s shower with the naked eye.

Because there’s almost no moonlight tonight, you may be able to see as many as 100 a meteors per hour on the night of December 13/14.  In fact, the International Meteor Organization (IMO.net) predicts the hourly rate might be 120 meteors an hour at the peak of the shower.  Click here for an easy to use sky map and more details.


And Don’t Forget The Start Of Winter
Next Friday is also the Winter Solstice, which marks the beginning of winter in the Northern Hemisphere (although it started a few weeks back for many folks!).  The solstice is actually a very specific event and time.  This year it’s at 11:12 AM Universal Time (what most of us used to call Greenwich Mean Time).  That’s five hours ahead of US Eastern Standard and eight hours ahead of US Pacific Standard Time.  Here’s a handy link to calculate the exact time for you location

At precisely that time, the Earth’s axial tilt is at its most distant from the sun and North America gets the least amount of sunlight it experiences all year.  So even though we’re still facing several months of cold weather across the US, we’ll soon see days start to get longer, and eventually warmer, from this point forward.

So are you ready for winter?  Is your local wildlife?

Website meteorshowersonline.com has a great summary of the Geminds »

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Comments

TONIGHT and tomorrow watch the meteor shower!

Posted by Barbara Webb on 12/13

Actually, the vast majority of people still call it GMT. There’s absolutely no necessity to confuse by using the silly UTC tag.

...and DO try to see the Geminids. On a good year, it can make your hair stand on end.

Posted by Charlie Bakewell on 12/13

We went out and saw two long shooters. Awesome!

Posted by Joan on 12/13

@charlie bakewell, on your comment “hair…end” I got up out of bed and went out. OMG I have never seen the stars so bright in my over ahem years. The meteors were bright and lasted. Sooo beautiful. Such a wonderful night. Will be ready tomorrow. Thanks

Posted by Melitta Smith on 12/13

The Meteor’s are just wonderful here on the coast of North Carolina…I can only say WOW and WOW !!!

Posted by Ruth King on 12/13

In NJ, last night was the best meteor shower I have seen!  Even at midnight they were coming about 1 per minute or better.

Posted by Eric on 12/14

Hi! I miss the Metor showers I live in shirley, long island,ny. when will there be the next one ?
I know that shorty there should be another called
solstice will be on Dec 21st? Will I be able to see it from where I live on Long Island NY? I am on the south shore of Long Island.
Best Regards,
Bob Belpanno

Posted by Bob Belpanno on 12/15

I saw NUTHIN because of the cloud on Thursday and persistent fog from Friday.

There’s still a few chances this month though. The Comæ Berenicids, if you’re lucky, should be sprinkled through the sky tonight (15th) and through until the 23rd of the month.

Other possibilities in December are the Leonis Minorids - now until Feb 4th - and the Ursids - Dec 17th to the 26th.

Gazing up at the stars can be supremely romantic… so please remember to trim nose hair.

Posted by Charlie Bakewell on 12/15
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