Categories
Cosmic Space

Geminids could be a gem of a meteor shower

The stars have aligned for this weekend’s peak of the annual Geminid meteor shower. Now let’s hope that the weather aligns as well.

Skywatchers rank December’s Geminids alongside August’s Perseids as the year’s highlights for meteor shows. Under peak conditions, sharp-eyed observers can see two meteors a minute. NASA notes that the shooting stars are bright and fast, and tend to be yellow in color.

But the strength of the show is highly dependent on viewing conditions. In some years, the moon’s glare washes out the night sky so that few meteor streaks stand out.

One of the few good things about 2020 is that the moon won’t interfere this year. It’s nearly a new moon, which means skywatchers will see only a thin crescent that rises in the east just before dawn.

Categories
GeekWire

Prime time for the Geminid meteor shower

Image: Geminids
A Geminid meteor makes an impression in an all-sky photo captured in 2011. (Credit: NASA)

This year’s Geminid meteor shower is reaching its peak, and Seattle’s weather just might cooperate.

Tonight’s forecast calls for partly cloudy skies and a low chance of precipitation, which is unusual for a Seattle holiday season.

That adds to the allure for this year’s Geminid display, which is expected to be out of the ordinary.

“With August’s Perseids obscured by bright moonlight, the Geminids will be the best shower this year,” Bill Cooke, who leads NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office at Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama, said in a news release. “The thin, waning crescent moon won’t spoil the show.”

Get the full story on GeekWire.

Categories
GeekWire

Hopes rise for a gem of a Geminid meteor shower

Image: Geminids
A Geminid meteor makes an impression in an all-sky photo captured in 2011. (Credit: NASA)

The buildup has begun for this year’s best meteor shower, the Geminids, and what makes it even better is that Seattle’s weather just might cooperate.

For the week leading up to the Geminids’ peak on the night of Dec. 13-14, the forecast calls for partly cloudy skies and a low chance of precipitation, which is unusual for a Seattle holiday season.

That adds to the allure for this year’s Geminid display, which is expected to be out of the ordinary.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

Categories
GeekWire

Meteors bring holiday cheer – if it’s clear

Image: Geminids
A Geminid meteor makes an impression in an all-sky photo captured in 2011. (Credit: NASA)

The most reliable meteor shower of the year reaches its peak tonight – but to catch the Geminids, you’ll have to find a patch of clear, dark sky.

That’s difficult to do in the Seattle area. There’s a glimmer of hope, however: Theweather outlook improves as Sunday night turns into Monday morning, and it gets a lot better by Monday night. With any luck, there’ll still be some Geminids to see. So let’s assume you do find clear skies sometime in the next couple of days.

The Geminids appear every year from Dec. 4 to 17. They peak on Dec. 13-14, when Earth passes right through the trail of cosmic grit and pebbles left behind by an asteroid or burned-out comet called 3200 Phaeton. When those bits of debris pass through the upper atmosphere, they leave bright meteoric trails behind.

This year is a good one because the crescent moon makes an early exit, leaving a nice glare-less sky to look up into. Under peak conditions, you could see as many as 100 meteors per hour, including showy fireballs.

Get the full story on GeekWire.