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Many geminid meteors tonight December 13, 2006

Posted by dorigo in astronomy, news, personal, science.

Tonight is a very favourable moment to observe a honest meteor shower. The Geminids peak at 8AM UT, which is convenient for most observers in the United States. The moon will be of little hindrance for most of the night.

The Geminid meteors are originated from asteroid 3200 Phaeteon, which orbits the sun with a highly elliptical orbit which brings it to 0.15 AU from it every 1.4 years. They usually display a wide peak lasting several hours of high activity, with a ZHR (zenith hourly rate, or the number of meteors a observer would see if the radiant point were at the zenith and the conditions were perfect) of about 120. That is typically about a meteor a minute for most observers in most conditions.

I just went to my terrace (it’s 11PM here in Venice) and in 10 minutes -without dark adaptation and with a lousy sky above- I saw two meteors, one of them quite nice – a -1.5m white-blue streak through Orion. Judging from this rather meager observation, the rate is now at ZHR = 100+-70 already. 

Have a look and let me know what you see!



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