December offers hundreds of meteors – Astronomy Magazine December 4, 2012Posted by aquillam in Astronomy.
Tags: meteor shower, observing, urban_observing
Today’s post from Astronomy magazine has me doing a facepalm.
Yep, one of the nicest, easiest meteor showers of the year, one of the few worth watching from the city, and I completely forgot about it in my December Urban Observing post.
The Geminid meteor shower peaks on December 13/14 this year. It doesn’t have a sharp peak though, so its generally worth going out for a couple nights on either side of this.
Geminids are best viewed between midnight and about two hours before sunrise, when Gemini is high over head. If you want to set an alarm and go out for an hour, set it for 1:30 AM. Gemini will be just past due south at that point, so you get the easy, high overhead view and the early morning extra meteors.
Watching a meteor shower is easy. Bundle up, and go sit in a lounge chair looking toward the radiant (the spot where most of the meteors appear to come from.) This being winter, you may want to take binoculars or a small ‘scope to look at the Orion nebula or Jupiter, but its not needed for the meteor shower.
If you’re in light polluted skies, expect to see maybe 3-6 meteors an hour. In good, dark skies, a couple dozen is more usual for the Geminids.