APOD: Gemini's Meteors (2020 Dec 17)

Comments and questions about the APOD on the main view screen.
User avatar
APOD Robot
Otto Posterman
Posts: 4164
Joined: Fri Dec 04, 2009 3:27 am

APOD: Gemini's Meteors (2020 Dec 17)

Post by APOD Robot » Thu Dec 17, 2020 5:05 am

Image Gemini's Meteors

Explanation: Taken over the course of an hour shortly after local midnight on December 13, 35 exposures were used to create this postcard from Earth. The composited night scene spans dark skies above the snowy Italian Dolomites during our fair planet's annual Geminid meteor shower. Sirius, alpha star of Canis Major and the brightest star in the night, is grazed by a meteor streak on the right. The Praesepe star cluster, also known as M44 or the Beehive cluster, itself contains about a thousand stars but appears as a smudge of light far above the southern alpine peaks near the top. The shower's radiant is off the top of the frame though, near Castor and Pollux the twin stars of Gemini. The radiant effect is due to perspective as the parallel meteor tracks appear to converge in the distance. As Earth sweeps through the dust trail of asteroid 3200 Phaethon, the dust that creates Gemini's meteors enters Earth's atmosphere traveling at about 22 kilometers per second.

<< Previous APOD This Day in APOD Next APOD >>

Jim Morgan

Re: APOD: Gemini's Meteors (2020 Dec 17)

Post by Jim Morgan » Thu Dec 17, 2020 7:52 am

Finally, after all these years and viewing scores of pictures of meteor showers on APOD alone, this beautiful shot of the Geminids makes me realize what Blake's late 1700s poem The Tyger must be about:

Tyger Tyger. burning bright,
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye.
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies.
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand, dare sieze the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat.
What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain,
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp.
Dare its deadly terrors clasp!

When the stars threw down their spears
And water'd heaven with their tears:
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger Tyger burning bright.
In the forests of the night:
What immortal hand or eye.
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?
Blake must've seen a fireball during a meteor shower!

The crucial detail is
When the stars threw down their spears
And water'd heaven with their tears:
which clearly evokes the streaks of the smaller meteors. And since Blake is talking about 'Tygers', we could guess he's talking about the Leonids, which peaked on November ?17 this year.

The "water'd heaven with their tears" is interesting because meteor showers often do cause rain by furnishing condensation nuclei, but the rain apparently comes about 30 days later -- which could put it around Christmas. Hence the "Lamb", perhaps. Bit of a stretch, but I'd consider it more likely if I could find a source saying that English farmers in the 18th Century had noticed rain subsequent to meteor showers.

But somebody (https://leonid.arc.nasa.gov/1966-Ihara.txt) beat me to this of course, at least as early as 1966.

DL MARTIN

Re: APOD: Gemini's Meteors (2020 Dec 17)

Post by DL MARTIN » Thu Dec 17, 2020 8:46 am

Thanks for the context. And I thought astronomy was all about math.

Sa Ji Tario

Re: APOD: Gemini's Meteors (2020 Dec 17)

Post by Sa Ji Tario » Thu Dec 17, 2020 11:22 am

Gentlemen, without Alzheimer's I reached 80

User avatar
orin stepanek
Plutopian
Posts: 5934
Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2005 3:41 pm
Location: Nebraska

Re: APOD: Gemini's Meteors (2020 Dec 17)

Post by orin stepanek » Thu Dec 17, 2020 2:22 pm

Sa Ji Tario wrote:
Thu Dec 17, 2020 11:22 am
Gentlemen, without Alzheimer's I reached 80
GeminidMeteorsStePelle1024.jpg
welcome to the 5th score club with fiery rain!
Happy 80's :D
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Orin

Smile today; tomorrow's another day!

mason dixon
Asternaut
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Feb 13, 2016 12:07 am

Re: APOD: Gemini's Meteors (2020 Dec 17)

Post by mason dixon » Thu Dec 17, 2020 7:10 pm

How was the Geminid shower this year?

User avatar
Chris Peterson
Abominable Snowman
Posts: 15525
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2007 11:13 pm
Location: Guffey, Colorado, USA

Re: APOD: Gemini's Meteors (2020 Dec 17)

Post by Chris Peterson » Thu Dec 17, 2020 8:36 pm

mason dixon wrote:
Thu Dec 17, 2020 7:10 pm
How was the Geminid shower this year?
For me, excellent. No Moon and clear skies. My allsky camera caught 244 meteors on the peak evening. (Click on the image for more info and some fireball videos.)
_
Image
Chris

*****************************************
Chris L Peterson
Cloudbait Observatory
http://www.cloudbait.com

Sa Ji Tario

Re: APOD: Gemini's Meteors (2020 Dec 17)

Post by Sa Ji Tario » Thu Dec 17, 2020 11:34 pm

Always cordial Chris, thank you so much

Mercury
Asternaut
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2020 4:26 pm

Re: APOD: Gemini's Meteors (2020 Dec 17)

Post by Mercury » Tue Dec 22, 2020 11:45 pm

Actually, the correct speed at which the Geminid meteoroids hit the atmosphere is 35 kilometers per second: Science News:

"Most are white or yellow; all are slow and graceful, because the meteoroids orbit the Sun in the same direction as Earth does. They hit the air at only 35 kilometers per second"

That's 22 miles per second.

longtry
Ensign
Posts: 37
Joined: Tue Dec 11, 2018 6:59 am

Re: APOD: Gemini's Meteors (2020 Dec 17)

Post by longtry » Sat Dec 26, 2020 2:44 am

For me this Geminids shower was of importance too. It marked the 1st time I deliberately moved out to watch a shower and actually caught some.

BTW, this year-end is going to be emotional. I've started a mission on 26Mar17, to read all APOD posts since its beginning. I do that by opening the APOD archive every single day and read some. And the journey of about 1375 days is going to end, with me reaching the most recent APOD on 30Dec20. I don't know if you guys did something similar or not, but to be able to scroll up to the very 1st page of the archive is such a moving experience for me, after years of struggling down toward the bottom.

I dare not to say I'm in absolute love with astronomy, but with the knowledge that I've gathered from these 4 years, and with a fervor that it inspired, I've taken steps to bring them onto the field. Before, I had tried to watch meteor showers at home, but my city is often plagued by night clouds and always cursed with light pollution. Recently I've travel more than a thousand kilometres to get to a dark place. And I can say that the investment did pay out.

So when I reached 17Dec today and read about an event that I did actually partake, I'm taking this chance to express my thanks to APOD editors and people behind this forum too. You're helping the world. Especially when many are locked at home during the pandemic. You're reminding everyone that, despite 'bad' things that happen on Earth, the universe out there is always awesome and full of surprises.

I can't wait for 2021. Within a week, I will be able to proudly say: I am equal, APOD-wise, to anyone on this forum. So, merry Christmas & happy new year!