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2013 Geminids

Many areas of the UK enjoyed long clear spells on the night of Geminid maximum (Dec 13-14).

There were just two small downsides. Firstly, most observers had to wait until midnight or later for the clouds to disperse and, secondly, there was a bright gibbous Moon in the sky to drown out the fainter meteors.

On the plus side, observing conditions were unusually mild for mid December.

Video imaging

Richard Fleet, operated a video camera from Wilcot in Wiltshire throughout the night as part of the UKMON network and has compiled this time lapse showing the 212 Geminids imaged by one fixed camera in the course of the night. The early images show the constellation of Pegasus. The bright object moving through the field of view later is an overexposed image of the Moon (in Aries).  Gemini comes into view towards the end.

To view the video in full screen, click on the arrows symbol at the bottom right of the window.


Bright Geminid imaged by Richard Fleet at 23:54UT on Dec 13 2013

DSLR imaging

Richard also operated a Canon 5D DSLR camera at ISO 3200 with a 28mm lens at f3.5 and captured this image of a bright Geminid passing through Orion in a 5 sec exposure.

The bright "star" in the cloud is Jupiter and the Geminid radiant, near Castor, is above the top of the image.

Richard commented that due to the moonlight he had to take shorter exposures than normal and this led to him filling up his memory cards faster than usual.

Visual observations

Meteor Section Director Tony Markham was pleasantly surprised to find skies were particularly transparent from his observing site near Leek in Staffordshire. As a result, the limiting magnitude was 4.8 and this led to better than expected observed rates in the moonlit conditions. In 3 hours and 30 minutes observing (0037-0407UT) on the morning of Dec 14, Tony spotted 92 Geminids and 9 sporadic meteors. In addition, Richard found time away from his imaging work to spot 73 meteors in 2.5 hours. Similar rates were also reported by Tom Banks observing from Cheshire.

Tony was also able to observe the following night (Dec 14-15) and recorded 7 Geminids and 2 sporadics (0045-0136UT, LM 4.2) before the clouds rolled in. Clearly the Geminids were now in their sharp decline post maximum.


Early analyses published by the International Meteor Organisation (IMO) indicated that this was a typical return of the Geminids and, after correction for the moonlight, the ZHR was probably around 100. The latest IMO activity curve can be found at  http://imo.net/live/geminids2013/

Added by:  Tracie Heywood