The Barefoot Photographer®

a photography blog

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Meteor Showers

The Geminid meteor shower is coming!  One of the best meteor showers of the year peaks in the early morning of December 14th.   You have the Perseids in August, the Leonids in November – now it is December and here come the Geminids.  Meteor showers get their name from the constellations they seem to come out of.  Perseids come from near the constellation Perseus – kind of in between Perseus and Cassiopeia, but closer to Perseus.  The Leonids seem to radiate from the constellation Leo.  So – following that train of thought, the Geminids are found shooting out from the constellation Gemini.  All three of these famous meteor showers happen around the middl e of the month they are associated with – so remember next August – the Perseids can really be spectacular.  I remember one year laying on a lawn chair to watch Earthgrazer meteors streak across the sky.  An Earthgrazer is a meteor that skims along the Earth's atmosphere like a stone skipping on a pond.  They are big, bright, and very pretty.  Earthgrazers appear with the meteor shower is near the horizon.  This shoots the meteors more horizontally rather than coming down at a more vertical trajectory.


Head outside Thursday night after 10 p.m. and look toward the constellation Gemini.  If you can't find Gemini – look for Orion.  Almost anyone can find Orion's belt – Gemini is not as easy to spot. Gemini is close to Orion.  After midnight the number of meteors seen per hour will increase until dawn Friday morning.


There are a lot of fun websites about meteors and space things.  There is one place where you can find the "near Earth objects."  That can get a little freaky to read what is coming close and when.


Here are some links of interest.  The first one is a story on this year's Geminids.  You can sign up with NASA for email alerts for anything space related.  For the next couple nights – you can go outside to spot the space station flying over.

Info on the Geminids next week

Go here – click on your state – click on the city (or closest to you) this will show when the International Space Station is flying over.  I missed it early last evening -- I have another couple chances -- today and Thursday.

Go here to find out about the latest on Sun spots, near Earth asteroids, and see some really cool photo galleries of space related objects and clouds.


Now if I can get everyone in the neighborhood to turn off their outside lights!!!

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