Wednesday , January 27 2021

Gaminid meteor shower and bright comet make for Super Sky show

More than 100 meteors are recorded in this complex picture taken during the peak of the Geminid meteor shower in 2014.

NASA / MSFC / Daniel is removed

December is a month when dedicated skywatchers have to sacrifice comfort and take some beauty. As the winter cold hits much of the northern hemisphere, a reliable meteor shower mins peaks mid-month, rewarding those willing to bundle up and out into the night.

"With the moon set just before midnight, the conditions should be perfect for the classic meteor shower of the Minis this year," astronomer Paul Cox said in a statement.

But this year brings a bonus of heaven: the climax of the Gendarmes comes on Thursday and Friday evening, just like Bright Comet of the Year, 46P / Wirtanen, Is expected to approach historically only a few nights later on December 16.

This amazing video was shot by J & L Lawton. Gerald, Missouri, showing Geminid flaming with Wirtanen in the background:

The mini shower takes place every year at this time when the earth passes through the huge cloud of debris that remains behind the object 3200 Pheethon, a strange blue asteroid that may be an extinct comet.

"Pethon orbits the sun every 17 months or so, leaving behind a trail of debris," explains Cox. "When the Earth passes through the path, meteorites the size of Mars grains in our atmosphere as spectacular meteorites."

Minidians are there with the August's Perseids in terms of producing a fair amount of fireballs and other bright stripes across the sky. You can expect to catch as 100-150 per hour with a clear sky and limited light pollution.

To test the show, Bill Cook of the NASA Meteoroid Environment Office advises waiting impulses until the moon descends around 10:30 am Local time before heading out without your cell phone because its screen can mess up your night vision.

"Lie on your back and look straight up, take as much water as possible, you'll soon start seeing Gemini's meteors, and as the night progresses, the Minid will grow to more than 100 per hour around 2 am

For some help observing the Wirtanen comet, NASA offers the useful skymap below to look for a glowing sphere of green light, most likely placed a little more in the sky than the star Aldebaran near the star of Taurus Ox.

A diagram showing the location of the gorse horn and 46P / Wirtanen at 35 degrees north at 10:30. On the night of the Geminiad summit (December 13).


Cook suggests taking binoculars or a small telescope out there with you to try and look better.

If the weather does not cooperate where you are, you can still get an ephemeral glimpse of the show through the Slooh Observatory on the Internet Thursday starting at 15:00. PT.

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