Geminid Meteor Shower - 2012 Dec 13-14

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Geminid Meteor Shower - 2012 Dec 13-14

Postby bystander » Tue Dec 11, 2012 6:49 pm

Geminid Meteor Shower and Meteorwatch
Universe Today | VirtualAstro | 2012 Dec 04

Click to play embedded YouTube video.
The Geminid Meteor Shower is the grand finale of astronomical events in 2012 and is usually the most reliable and prolific of the annual meteor showers.

This year we are in for a special treat as the Moon will be absent when the Geminids are at their peak on the evening of the 12th/ 13th of December. This means that the sky should be at its darkest when the shower is expected, and many more of the fainter meteors may be seen.

The Geminid meteor shower is expected to yield in excess of 50 meteors (shooting stars) per hour at peak for those with clear skies, the meteors it produces are usually bright with long persistent trains. If observing opportunities aren’t favorable or possible on the 12th/ 13th, meteor watchers can usually see high meteor activity a day or so either side of the peak.

As well as being the grand finale of 2012, the Geminids are special in another way. Unlike the majority of all the other annual meteor showers the Geminids are thought to be from an object known as 3200 Phaethon – an asteroid not a comet.

To celebrate this long anticipated event, there will be the Geminid Meteorwatch and anyone with an interest in the night sky can join in on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. The event will be an excellent opportunity to learn, share information, experiences, images and more. Whatever your level of interest, wherever you are on the planet Meteorwatch will run for approximately four days. All you need to do is follow along using the #meteorwatch hashtag.

As well as the wealth of information exchanged and shared on Twitter and the other social media outlets, there are helpful guides and information available on Meteorwatch.org so you can get the most out of your #meteorwatch.

To get the ball rolling there is a Hollywood style trailer for the event, purely as a bit of fun and for people of all walks of life to feel inspired and to go outside and look up. You don’t need a telescope or anything, just your eyes and a little bit of patience to see a Geminid meteor.

Geminid Meteor Shower Coming on December 13–14
Sky & Telescope | Alan MacRobert | 2012 Dec 05

If it’s clear late Thursday night, December 13th, 2012, keep a lookout high overhead for the shooting stars of the Geminid meteor shower. “The Geminids are usually one of the two best meteor showers of the year,” says Alan MacRobert, senior editor at Sky & Telescope magazine. “They may beat out the Perseids of August.” This year's showing has the added benefit of reduced celestial competition — thanks to the new Moon, no moonlight will interfere with meteor counting.

Under a clear, dark sky, you may see a shooting star every minute from 10 p.m. local time Thursday until dawn Friday morning. If you live under the artificial skyglow of light pollution the numbers will be less, but the brightest meteors will still shine through.

Lower counts of Geminid meteors should be visible earlier that evening, and a few should also flash into view on the nights of December 11, 12, and 14.

To watch for meteors, you need no equipment other than your eyes. Find a dark spot with an open view of the sky and no glaring lights nearby. Bundle up as warmly as you can in many layers. “Go out late in the evening, lie back, and gaze up into the stars,” says Sky & Telescope editor in chief Robert Naeye. “Relax, be patient, and let your eyes adapt to the dark. The best direction to watch is wherever your sky is darkest, probably straight up.”

Geminids can appear anywhere in the sky. Small ones appear as tiny, quick streaks. Occasional brighter ones may sail across the heavens for several seconds and leave a brief train of glowing smoke.

If you trace each meteor’s direction of flight backward far enough across the sky, you’ll find that this imaginary line crosses a spot in the constellation Gemini near the stars Castor and Pollux. Gemini is in the eastern sky during evening and high overhead in the hours after midnight (for skywatchers at north temperate latitudes). This special spot is called the shower’s radiant. It’s the perspective point from which all the Geminids would appear to come if you could see them approaching from the far distance, rather than just in the last second or so of their lives as they dive into Earth’s upper atmosphere.

Rock Comet Meteor Shower
NASA Science News | Dr. Tony Phillips | 2012 Dec 09

Click to play embedded YouTube video.
Every year in mid-December, astronomers look up in the sky and witness a mystery. It announces itself with a flurry of shooting stars. For several nights in a row, dozens to hundreds of meteors per hour cut across the glistening constellations of winter, each one a little puzzle waiting to be solved.

"It's the Geminid meteor shower--set to peak on Dec. 13th and 14th," says Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office. "Although the Geminids come every year, we still don't fully understand them."

Most meteor showers are caused by icy comets, which spew jets of meteoroids when they are heated by sunlight. The Geminids are different. The parent is not a comet but a weird rocky object named 3200 Phaethon.

When 3200 Phaethon was discovered in 1983 by NASA's IRAS satellite, astronomers quickly realized that they had found the source of the Geminids. The orbit of 3200 Phaethon was such a close match to that of the Geminid debris stream, no other conclusion was possible. Yet here was a puzzler: Everything about 3200 Phaethon suggests it is an asteroid.

In fact, 3200 Phaethon resembles main belt asteroid Pallas so much, it could well be a 5-kilometer chip off that 544 km block. "If 3200 Phaethon broke apart from asteroid Pallas, as some researchers believe, then Geminid meteoroids might be debris from the breakup," speculates Cooke.

There is, however, another possibility: Perhaps 3200 Phaethon is a "rock comet."

A "rock comet" is a new kind of object being discussed by some astronomers. It is, essentially, an asteroid that comes very close to the sun--so close that solar heating scorches dusty debris right off its rocky surface. Rock comets could thus grow comet-like tails made of gravely debris that produce meteor showers on Earth.

Could this be the answer?

To test the idea, researchers turned to NASA's twin STEREO spacecraft, which are designed to study solar activity. In June 2009, STEREO watched 3200 Phaethon passing only 15 solar diameters from the sun's surface. What happened next surprised UCLA planetary scientists David Jewitt and Jing Li, who analyzed the data.

"3200 Phaethon unexpectedly brightened by a factor of two," they wrote. "The most likely explanation is that Phaethon ejected dust, perhaps in response to a break-down of surface rocks (through thermal fracture and decomposition cracking of hydrated minerals) in the intense heat of the Sun."

So, according to the STEREO observations, 3200 Phaethon does behave like a rock comet.

The “rock comet” hypothesis is compelling, but Jewett and Li point out a problem: The amount of dust 3200 Phaethon ejected during its sun-encounter added a paltry 0.01% to the mass of the Geminid debris stream, not enough to keep the debris stream stocked up with meteoroids for the annual display of shooting stars. 3200 Phaethon is not spewing enough dust to account for the Geminids.

Could the rock comet have been more active in the past....? "We just don't know," says Cooke.

Forecasters expect Geminid meteor rates to top 100 per hour when the shower peaks on the moonless nights of Dec. 13th and 14th, 2012. Cooke encourages sky watchers to go out, look up, and savor the mystery.

Activity in Geminid Parent (3200) Phaethon - David Jewitt and Jing Li
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Re: Geminid Meteor Shower - 2012 Dec 13-14

Postby bystander » Tue Dec 11, 2012 7:00 pm

A New Meteor Shower in December?
NASA Science News | Dr. Tony Phillips | 2012 Dec 11

If you're outdoors after sunset this week, be alert for meteors. Not only is the Geminid meteor shower active as Earth passes through a stream of debris from "rock comet" 3200 Phaethon, but also, say forecasters, a new meteor shower could make an appearance.

"The source of the new shower is Comet Wirtanen," says Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office. "Dust from this comet hitting Earth's atmosphere could produce as many as 30 meteors per hour."

Comet Wirtanen was discovered in 1948, just after World War II, and takes 5.4 years to orbit the sun. It reaches its closest point to the sun just outside Earth's orbit. Although this comet has skirted Earth's orbit many times, Earth has not run into its debris streams before. 2012 could be different.

Computer models run by Russian forecaster Mikhail Maslov predict as many as four stream crossings between Dec. 10th and 14th.

"This time period also includes the peak of the strong annual Geminid meteor shower," notes Cooke.

To sky watchers, he recommends having a "meteor night" after sunset on Dec. 13th, when the criss-crossing debris streams could produce the greatest combined number of shooting stars. "Meteors from the new shower (if any) will be visible in the early evening, with the Geminids making their appearance later on and lasting until dawn," he says.

The new shower doesn't have a name yet. Before naming it, astronomers will wait to see if it is real. If any meteors do materialize, they might be called "Piscids." The shower's radiant is located in the constellation Pisces, according to Maslov's dynamical models of the debris stream. Maslov also predicts that the meteors will be very slow moving, which should help novice sky watchers distinguish them from the faster Geminids.

Meteor hunting on Dec. 13-14 is a no-lose proposition because, as Cooke points out, even if the new shower is a dud, the Geminids should be great. With no glaring Moon to spoil the show, observers in rural areas should be able to see as many as 120 Geminid meteors every hour. The best time to look is during the dark hours before sunrise on Friday, Dec. 14th.
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Re: Geminid Meteor Shower - 2012 Dec 13-14

Postby Chris Peterson » Thu Dec 13, 2012 7:48 pm

2012geminids.jpg
Three nights, 179 Geminids

Clear weather, no Moon. Perfect conditions for recording meteors. More information, including videos, is here.

Besides the Geminids, I caught many other meteors as well, which are not seen in this Geminid composite.

Puppid-Velid 16
Monocerotid 29
chi Orionid 16
sigma Hydrid 29
46P 8
Sporadic 39

The 8 46P meteors are debris from Comet Wirtanen.
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Re: Geminid Meteor Shower - 2012 Dec 13-14

Postby pcully » Fri Dec 14, 2012 5:50 am



2012 Geminid Meteor shower from Boulder, Colorado. Fantastic show!!! I was blessed with amazingly clear skies instead of the National Weather Service predicted 73% cloud cover. Thank goodness for surprises...

Here is the time-lapse of all of my photos. The first two scenes are from the 12/13th and have a few meteors, but the second half from the 13/14th has a ton! I only had time to grab a few out that could be identified in the hazy thumbnails after importing. I keep my photos and videos at http://www.pcullyphoto.com and the music is used with permission from my good friends of the Excavacations.
Last edited by pcully on Fri Dec 14, 2012 4:23 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Geminid Meteor Shower - 2012 Dec 13-14

Postby Seantos » Fri Dec 14, 2012 6:34 am

What an incredible show we had here in Tucson, Arizona 12-12-12! I was able to see about 50 per hour.

Here are some composites of about 30 frames from a time-lapse I shot of the Geminid Meteor shower at Gates Pass in Tucson, Arizona on the morning of 12-13-12. You can see M31 (Andromeda Galaxy 2.5million light years away) at the left next to the Milky way.

These images took a lot of work as I had to scroll through about 400 frames and find which frames had shooting stars in them, then cut out every meteor and blend.

Camera Details:
Canon 5DMKIII
Carl Zeiss 21mm F/2.8 Distagon
ISO 3200, 20 seconds.

http://www.Sean-Parker.com

Image Image Image
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Re: Geminid Meteor Shower - 2012 Dec 13-14

Postby lup974 » Fri Dec 14, 2012 2:13 pm

Geminids at Reunion Island
http://www.lucperrot.fr/
http://www.facebook.com/lucperrotphoto
Copyright: Luc Perrot
Image
Here is a picture of the Geminids taken last night from the site of the Maïdo at 2000m on Reunion Island.
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Re: Geminid Meteor Shower - 2012 Dec 13-14

Postby amirrezakamkar » Fri Dec 14, 2012 3:33 pm

A Geminid meteor over Tandis valley, Persian gulf, Iran.
photo by Amirreza Kamkar
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Re: Geminid Meteor Shower - 2012 Dec 13-14

Postby Arman.G » Fri Dec 14, 2012 7:48 pm

In this photo, you can see three geminids meteor which bright in a 40 seconds shot. Early morning sky over the Locho Mountain in Iran, Zahedan
https://files.myopera.com/arman.g/files/gemenidsapod.jpg
geminids.jpg
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Re: Geminid Meteor Shower - 2012 Dec 13-14

Postby Chris Peterson » Fri Dec 14, 2012 7:55 pm

2012geminids.jpg
Four nights, 292 Geminids

A winter storm rolled in after midnight, which reduced the meteors I collected on the peak night to just 113. However, because those were collected over a short time, you can really see the radiant clearly (in the lower image).

More fireball videos are here.

2012geminids_peak.jpg
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Re: Geminid Meteor Shower - 2012 Dec 13-14

Postby badsocref » Fri Dec 14, 2012 11:13 pm

Here's a gaggle of Geminids that I imaged on 12/12-13 using a Canon DSLR (T2i) and 15mm lens. Image is a composite of 30 second subs acquired from near the New Mexico Spaceport.
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Re: Geminid Meteor Shower - 2012 Dec 13-14

Postby Arman.G » Sat Dec 15, 2012 4:51 am

In this photo, you can see three geminids meteor which bright in a 40 seconds shot. Early morning sky over the Locho Mountain in Iran, Zahedan

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Re: Geminid Meteor Shower - 2012 Dec 13-14

Postby marion165 » Sat Dec 15, 2012 4:54 am

The Geminids 2012 - Short and Sweet
http://www.flickr.com/photos/radicalret ... 273193275/
Copyright: Marion Haligowski

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The Geminids 2012 - Short and Sweet by Radical Retinoscopy, on Flickr

This is a single frame from a forty minute series that I took on December 13, 2012 during the Geminid meteor shower. A short, trailing meteor can be seen near the shower's radiant in this photograph. The image was taken with a Canon t2i and a Sigma 10-20mm lens with a Tiffen Double Fog #2 filter to add a little diffusion and soften the image.
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Re: Geminid Meteor Shower - 2012 Dec 13-14

Postby Hung-Hsuan Yen » Sat Dec 15, 2012 6:08 am

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Re: Geminid Meteor Shower - 2012 Dec 13-14

Postby stully » Mon Dec 17, 2012 5:22 am

A Geminid Through the Heavens
http://www.flickr.com/photos/79734303@N ... otostream/
Copyright: Scott Tully

A Geminid captured between Sirius and Orion in the early morning hours of Dec. 14, 2012 photographed in the hills of Connecticut on the border of upstate N.Y.
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Re: Geminid Meteor Shower - 2012 Dec 13-14

Postby Popewan » Mon Dec 17, 2012 2:59 pm

My contribution to the Geminids. Cartagena (Murcia) Spain.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/popewan/8272117625
Copyright: David Garcia
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Geminidas12 02 por Popewan, en Flickr

stacking 5 pictures. Exif 17mm iso 1600 f2.8 30" 14Dec 12:50
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Re: Geminid Meteor Shower - 2012 Dec 13-14

Postby deserto » Thu Apr 25, 2013 5:25 pm

Geminid meteor shower of 2012 really amazing

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_jdfyp8pL0
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