Geminids 2010

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Alastair McBeath
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Geminids 2010

Post by Alastair McBeath »

Maximum for the year's last major shower, the Geminids, is expected on December 14 around 11h UT, but it could extend for part of the time at near-peak Zenithal Hourly Rates (ZHRs) between roughly 19h UT on December 13 to 18h on the 14th. First quarter Moon is on December 13, which will set by about 00:30 UT for most UK sites on December 13-14. As the Geminid radiant rises around sunset, reaches a usefully-observable elevation for meteor watchers by about 20h UT from Britain, and then remains well-placed for the rest of the night, culminating around 02h, the second half of the night will be available for dark-sky observing then.

Highest ZHRs should be ~120 judging by recent returns, probably for up to twelve hours, so observed rates from the UK later on December 13-14 under clear, very dark skies could be approaching a meteor a minute or more, if its activity is of this strength and persistence again. In addition, Geminid rates are normally good, if lower, for a night or two before, and sometimes a night after, the maximum in an average year. Thus pleasing shower activity may be glimpsed in Moon-free skies then, even if clouds intervene on the peak night.

Geminids are medium speed, often bright, meteors, though few leave glowing persistent trains after them. Much lower Geminid rates should be seen away from the maximum under any moonless conditions between December 7 to 17 from past years' activity, though latest information from the International Meteor Organization (IMO) has indicated the first Geminids may be spotted around today (December 4 - new Moon is tomorrow, of course!).

For more information, and a Geminid radiant chart, see the December monthly meteor activity webpage at:

http://www.popastro.com/sections/meteor ... ec2010.htm .

Good luck, clear skies - and hopefully a lot less snow & ice!

Alastair McBeath,
Meteor Director, Society for Popular Astronomy.
Meteor homepage: http://www.popastro.com/sections/meteor.htm
E-mail: <meteor@popastro.com> (messages under 150 kB in size only, please)
Alastair McBeath
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Post by Alastair McBeath »

No useful breaks in the weather here in Northumberland for the Geminids as yet, but with the recent thaw, there is the possibility now of getting out to observe without struggling through the three-foot snowdrifts we've had over the paths and grass for the past fortnight (assuming it doesn't all revert to deadly ice again)!

Meanwhile, the IMO's "live" Geminids webpage is now available to help keep even the snowbound and clouded-out involved:

http://www.imo.net/live/geminids2010/ .

Best of luck folks!

Alastair McBeath,
Meteor Director, Society for Popular Astronomy.
Meteor homepage: http://www.popastro.com/sections/meteor.htm
E-mail: <meteor@popastro.com> (messages under 150 kB in size only, please)
david entwistle
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Post by david entwistle »

Reasonable conditions here in Lancashire on the night of 11 - 12th December. Cloudless skies, but some haze and a limiting magnitude, towards the zenith, of 5. Conditions not quite good enough for a formal watch, but I enjoyed seeing five Geminids and three sporadics in just over thirty minutes of observing from 02:33 to 03:10 UT.
David Entwistle
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Post by Hampshire Astronomer »

Looking clear down here in Hampshire for the night of the 12th....although lets not hold our breath :-(
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coldfieldboundary
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Post by coldfieldboundary »

Not prepared for it, but last night (11-12) there was a half hour gap in the clouds coming from north (0h15 till 0h45 UT), ... not good for the neck, but just saw some five geminids. So they seem not to be absent! Hopefully clear the night of 13-14...
Thanks to the clear cold nights...
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Post by Hampshire Astronomer »

My last post was a tad optimistic.....thick clouds down here in Hampshire now :-(
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Tony Markham
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Post by Tony Markham »

Clear in Leek for a while last night (Dec 11-12).

Observing for 2 hours (2245-0045UT, LM 5.4), I saw 11 Geminids and 8 sporadics.

Rates should be higher tonight, but the weather forecast is not promising.
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Post by Hampshire Astronomer »

My watch on the 8th gave me only two sporadics as follows:

20.02 3.5 Sporadic Pisces Pale, Medium Speed
20.22 3 Sporadic Auriga Pale & Slow

Hopefully more in the coming few days but the forecast is not looking good this end

Dave
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mike a feist
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Post by mike a feist »

Here is Sussex the weather was "clear and sunny but cold" during most of sunday and I enjoyed a couple of pleasant walks, until later in the afternoon when, as in Hampshire and probably from Hampshire, it clouded over complete. mike
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Post by Hampshire Astronomer »

Cloud came in from the north Mike in a south south west flow :-(
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mike a feist
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Post by mike a feist »

How right you are .....sorry to suggest Hants was "to blame". Often our clouds come up from the SW but the sky is now clear here and I can see the Moon and Jupiter....... maf!
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Post by Hampshire Astronomer »

Well hopefully the clear skies you are getting in Sussex will blow hampshire way :-)
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mike a feist
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Post by mike a feist »

This monday morning I saw a couple of Geminiids in the area of Leo/Virgo one at 0522 and the other at 0525. The sky was very clear for a while.....M51 was easily seen in 65mm Acuter.....and saw a number of other doubtful Geminiids (probably sporadics). Very soon turned foggy. maf
Melanie
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Post by Melanie »

Last night was ever so clear, like crystals in a jet black sky.. I saw two geminids, different areas so, i guess sporadic as not eminating from Gemini - would that right?
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Post by david entwistle »

Melanie wrote:i guess sporadic as not eminating from Gemini - would that right?
Hi Melanie,

That's right - when you extend a line back along the meteor's path, if that line doesn't pass reasonably close to the Geminid radiant, then it wasn't a Geminid that you saw. The Geminid radiant moves slightly from night to night and the red lines on the chart below shows you where it will be from December 7th through to December 17th, with markers showing the position on the 10th and 15th December.

Image

There are other sources active at the moment - see here for details. If your meteors didn't emanate from those sources either, then they were sporadic meteors as they didn't have any association with a particular shower.
David Entwistle
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