Hey Space Placers!
A 2020 Geminid Amongst the Clouds
Credit: Greg Redfern
Unlike last year as you can see in the pic above that has clouds, for me the weather is forecast to have CLEAR skies - read COLD - on the night of December 13-14, the peak of the Geminid Meteor Shower. But we will have to contend with a bright Waxing Gibbous Moon that will interfere with the number of meteors we can see as faint meteors will be washed out due to bright moonlight.
But all is not lost as each year the Geminid Meteor Shower reliably produces a large number of meteors per hour (75-100+) in a dark sky with many of them being bright enough to be classified as fireballs - a meteor that is brighter than the planet Venus. To get an idea how bright this is you can see Venus in the SW sky right after sunset. Bottom line - these fireballs are BRIGHT!
Sky and Telescope (S&T) https://skyandtelescope.org/astronomy-news/precious-hours-with-the-geminids/?fbclid=IwAR1p2ilg2QmAfKBxptpsnvdXGJveOMq2fvxAC4i622iWL9s0P0yhtonEnfI predicts that, “the best show begins around moonset (approximately 3 a.m. local time on December 14th). For the next few hours before the start of dawn, Gemini towers in the Southwestern sky, with the Geminids at full force.”
The American Meteor Society (AMS) https://www.amsmeteors.org/2021/12/viewing-the-geminid-meteor-shower-in-2021/ provides some additional information about and tips for viewing the shower.
The best place to see the Geminids is at a location far away from lights and with no obstructions such as trees and buildings. If you are a city dweller you still may see the brightest Geminids as long as you are not staring into a street light or nestled in amongst tall buildings. Out in the country or along the beach or on a cruise ship is the best place to be.
The key takeaways this year are to face away from the Moon while it is in the sky as Geminids can appear anywhere in the sky. Staying WARM and COMFORTABLE is a must due to cold temperatures. I get in a sleeping bag on an adjustable lounge chair that is complete with foot and head rests. Warm beverages are a help too, Be sure to have gloves and a head cover. Share viewing the shower with family, friends or your significant other.
Here are tips for photographing the shower https://www.amsmeteors.org/meteor-showers/how-to-photograph-meteors-with-a-dslr/ .
I use a two camera set up with different lenses and pointed at different areas in the skies to increase my chances of bagging a meteor.
I hope you have clear skies too!
Sky Guy in Brrrr VA
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