Categorized | Sci-Tech

Geminid meteor shower peaks tonight

Special to Hawaii 24/7 by Mike Shanahan | Bishop Museum Director of Education

The Geminid shower is a consistent shower that comes by every mid-December. This year the peak is the night of Dec. 13-14 (i.e. stay up late Monday).

Meteor showers are always better after midnight; and in the very early hours of Dec. 14 the moon will set (12:05 a.m.), leaving the coast clear for good meteor hunting. Under dark skies, this shower can produce 100 meteors per hour.

While the night of Dec. 13-14 is the peak, it’s definitely worth hunting for Geminids on the day before and the day after, as well. Again, viewing is always better after midnight.

The Geminids are unique in being the only major meteor shower caused by asteroid debris rather than comet debris. Every mid-December the earth wanders into the debris left by asteroid 3200 Phaethon. As those little specks of asteroid hit our atmosphere they burn up from the friction, causing the shooting stars.

For this or any meteor shower, just find clear skies, a fairly clear horizon, and a place where you can look up comfortably (lawn chair). Telescopes and binoculars are not at all needed – just search the skies. Pay particular attention the eastern sky.

The constellation of Gemini, which is where the shooting stars seem to come from, is about two-thirds of the way up in the east at about 12:30 a.m.

— Find out more:
www.bishopmuseum.org/planetari…

Live video of the meteor shower:
www.ustream.tv/channel/nasa-ms…

2 Responses to “Geminid meteor shower peaks tonight”

  1. Katie says:

    I think this stuff is so cool!! I live in Texas and only saw three tonight, will there be another shower anytime soon?? I’m going to school to study Astronomy..i’d like to know some tips for school!!!
    Thanks!!

  2. Will says:

    January 3-4 is the next meteor shower, the Quadrantids. Check out the site below for 2011’s meteor showers.

    http://www.theskyscrapers.org/meteors/index.php/year/2011

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