2013 Meteor Shower viewing guide
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Geminids Information
 


 
   
 
 
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General Info  
 

How can I best view the Geminids meteor shower?

If you live near a brightly lit city, drive away from the glow of city lights and toward the constellation from which the meteors will appear to radiate. For example, drive north to view the Geminids. Driving south may lead you to darker skies, but the glow will dominate the northern horizon, where Gemini rises. Perseid meteors will appear to "rain" into the atmosphere from the constellation Gemini, which rises in the southeast around 11 p.m. in mid-October.

After you've escaped the city glow, find a dark, secluded spot where oncoming car headlights will not periodically ruin your sensitive night vision. Look for state or city parks or other safe, dark sites. Once you have settled at your observing spot, lay back or position yourself so the horizon appears at the edge of your peripheral vision, with the stars and sky filling your field of view. Meteors will instantly grab your attention as they streak by.

A bright meteor may leave a ghostly glowing trail after it has passed. The technical name for this is a train - i.e. the fast moving streak is the meteor's trail and a glowing remnant of the trail is known as the meteor's train.

How do I know the sky is dark enough to see meteors?

If you can see each star of the Little Dipper, your eyes have "dark adapted," and your chosen site is probably dark enough. Under these conditions, you will see plenty of meteors. Circle October 14th on your calendar, for early that morning a moderate to possibly very strong showing of annual Perseid meteor shower is likely. The very strong display will favor those living across much of the Northern Hemisphere.  In this region, meteor rates might briefly rise to a few hundred per hour (the time frame for the most intense activity is anticipated sometime around 21:40 GMT). 

A far more modest, but still potentially enjoyable display of a few dozen Geminid meteors per hour is expected to favor North America. In the United States and Canada, eastern observers will be particularly well-positioned for maximum activity, expected sometime between 3:30 and 5:30 a.m., when the radiant of the Geminid shower will be well up in the dark southeastern sky.

 

Moon forecast for December 13th


Waning Gibbous. Geminids shower gazing conditions will not be ideal. The moon will obstruct all but the brightest Geminids.


 

Geminids meteor shower fact file


First apeared: 902 AD

Name origin: Appears to radiate from the constellation Leo.

Parent: 55P/Tempel-Tuttle (comet)

Active start date: November 10th

ZHR/Rate on peak: 30 per hour

Active end date: November 21st
 

 

Past Geminids Showers (Videos)

Geminids 1
Geminids 2
Geminids 3
 
General Info Geminids History
 

History of Geminids coming soon!

 

The Geminids: 1994 and beyond

Stay tuned as the Spacedex write up is currently in progress.

 
General Info

General information about the Geminids

The Geminids meteor shower is the final major meteor shower of the year and also the most consistent shower in terms of putting on fruitful display. This annual meteor shower has been observed for over 500 years and is active from December 4th through December 17th (in 2013). The Geminids are distinguished by their multi-colored display. Observers below may be treated so several colors—65% white, 26% yellow, and the remaining 9%, green, blue, and red.

Meteors streak through the night sky at a moderate speed, which makes them less difficult to miss when compared to faster meteors. The Geminids are extremely bright and are every so often capable of producing fireballs.

While this annual spectacular appears to radiate from a constellation, they are actually caused by the Earth passing through the dust particles of the comet 3200 Phaethon. Each autumn, Earth passes into a trail of dust left by this comet, and as a result, all the dust and debris burning up in our atmosphere, travelling at a very fast 21.75 miles per second, produces the spectacle known as the Geminids meteor shower, or what are popularly recognized as "shooting stars".

There's no danger to sky watchers, though. The fragile grains disintegrate long before they reach the ground. While the meteors are certainly bright, they are typically not much larger than a grain of sand. However, as they travel at immense speeds, these tiny particles put on an impressive show.

The Moon and Geminids in 2013

In 2013, the Geminids are best viewed on the night of December 13th though the morning hours of December 14th. Meteor-thirsty gazers should begin watching for meteors on the night of December 10th, just after the Moon's First Quarter phase. The Geminids are known for producing 100-150 meteors per hour at times, but this year may not surprise us with such a visually striking performance, since the shower will peak just three days before the Full Moon.

This year, eager sky watchers who are fortunate enough to have completely clear skies may witness between 40 and 60 meteors per hour. (The time frame for the most intense activity is anticipated sometime around 5:45 UTC on December 14, 2013). As one can imagine, the less cloud cover, natural light from the moon, light pollution, and precipitation present, the greater the number of meteors you'll have the chance of viewing.

Unfortunately, the Waxing Gibbous Moon (93% full) will coincide with the peak of the Geminids this year. This will decrease your chances of observing meteors streaking through the night sky. This year will be not be ideal to watch the Geminids. This is the final major meteor shower of the year, so those willing to stick it out in the cold (or warmth, for those in warmer environments) may be treated to a memorable showing--a great way to end 2013.

How do I know if the sky is dark enough to see meteors?


If you happen to live near a brightly lit city, if possible, we recommend that you drive away from the glow of city light. After you've escaped the glow of the city, find a dark, safe, and possibly isolated spot where oncoming vehicle headlights will not occasionally ruin your sensitive night vision. Look for state or city parks or other safe dark-sites. If you can see each star of the Little Dipper, your eyes have "dark adapted," and your chosen site is probably dark enough.

For the best view, meteor gazers should face in any direction away from constellation Gemini and the moon, which will appear close to the constellation. This way you won't have the bright moon within your field of view. The constellation Gemini (The Twin) is the radiant of the Geminids meteor shower, which means that meteors appear to radiate from within the constellation. Correspondingly, the Geminids meteor shower is named after Gemini.

From within Gemini, the Geminids meteors appear to originate from Gemini's bright stars, Castor and Pollux. For most meteor shower, observers would face the direction of the showers' radiant, but this is not the case with the 2013 Geminids.

Unlike many of the other major meteor showers, the Geminids can be viewed early in the evening. This is due to the radiant (the constellation Gemini) being about 30 degrees above the eastern horizon by 9:00pm. Before you head out, remember to dress warmly and to get comfortable. Observing a meteor shower, especially one that occurs in less than ideal conditions, takes a lot of patience.

However, those who stick it out may be treated to a great showing. We wish you a wonderful viewing experience, and hope that the last meteor shower display of 2013 packs in several surprises!


 

Moon forecast for December 14th


Waxing Gibbous. Geminids meteor shower gazing conditions may not be ideal for gazing. The bright moonlight may wash away fainter Geminids meteors.


 

Geminids meteor shower fact file


First apeared: Mid-1800's

Name origin: Appears to radiate from the constellation Gemini.

Parent: 3200 Phaethon (asteroid)

Active start date: December 4th

Peal date: December 14th (05:45 UTC)

ZHR/Rate on peak: 120 per hour

Active end date: December 17th
 



 

Videos of past Geminids showers

Geminids 1
Geminids 2
Geminids 3




 

Data in visuals




 

 

Viewing locations and times to view the Geminids meteor shower


 
Europe Canada United States Central America
View European countries View Canadian cities View U.S. states View the countries
       

Africa

Angola Botswana Ciaro Egypt

Ghana Nigeria South Africa Zimbabwe


 

Asia

Afghanistan Armenia Azerbaijan Bahrain

Bangladesh Bhutan Brunei Cambodia

China Georgia Hong Kong India

Indonesia Iran Iraq Israel

Japan Kazakhstan Korea Kuwait

Kyrgyzstan Laos Lebanon Malaysia

Maldives Mongolia Nepal Oman

Pakistan Philippines Qatar Russia

Saudi Arabia Singapore Sri Lanka Syria

Taiwan Thailand Turkey United Arab Emirates


 

Australia

Sydney Albury Liverpool New Castle

Orange Wollongong Lithgow Perth

Melbourne Brisbane Adelaide Darwin

New Zealand      
     

 

 

South America

Argentina Bolivia Brazil Chile

Colombia Ecuador Falkland Islands French Guiana

Guyana Paraguay Peru Suriname

Uruguay Venezuela    
   


 

The Caribbean

Antigua and Barbuda Aruba Bahamas Barbados

Cayman Islands Cuba Dominica Dominican Republic

Grenada Guadaloupe Haiti Jamaica

Martinique Puerto Rico Saint Barthelemy Saint Kitts & Nevis

Saint Lucia Trinidad & Tobago Turks & Caicos Virgin Islands

 

Having trouble finding a location? Search here:

 

Meteor Shower Tip

Meteor showers are named after the constellation which they appear to be falling from.


Geminids Tip

Keep in mind that any local light pollution or obstructions like tall trees or buildings will reduce your making a meteor sighting. Give your eyes time to dark-adapt before observing.

Your name in the stars

Guide to photographing meteor showers



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