Thursday, 14 December, 2017

Flawless conditions ahead for Geminid meteor shower, pairings of moon, planets

Field of Stars Mr Magro's 2017 Exposure winning entry Field of Stars Mr Magro's 2017 Exposure winning entry
Velma Reese | 08 December, 2017, 05:16

As far as meteor showers are concerned, we're in luck.

On the 13th will have the opportunity to make a number of wishes during the night of the meteor shower - meteor shower Geminids is about 60- 120 "stars" per hour will pass through the constellation of Gemini.

The big occasion is the US getting ideal astronomical conditions for the strong Geminid meteor shower. The meteors emanate from the Gemini constellation - hence the name - and this year, we're in for a particularly dazzling show. It is the meteors from a particular swarm all appearing to shoot out from a particular point among the constellations, a point called the radiant.

The Geminids are probably the best meteor shower of the year-often exceeding the Perseids in August and the Leonids in November.

It might seem unfortunate that one of the greatest meteor showers of the year comes as winter is ramping up.

Why is this year so favorable for the Geminids? The thin crescent Moon does not rise until 3:57 a.m. Thursday and will not interfere with the meteor shower.

Ed Sheeran picks up MBE from Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace
Sheeran added that, on a more personal note, his late grandfather, Bill (who passed in 2013) was a "massive royalist". He said he hadn't been asked to perform at the royal couple's wedding next year.

The Geminids are known as particularly bright meteors, especially when they flash across dark night skies, which December 13-14 should be this year.

The Geminids stand apart from these other events, though.

On the night of the December 13 and 14, Perth Observatory will be open from 10:30pm to 2am and stargazers can book to view the Geminids at the Observatory here.

The a year ago that there were similarly favorable conditions for the Geminids I saw 68 of them in my best hour, along with about 14 meteors from other directions. For those who do not have access to a riverboat, or simply can't get out of a light polluted area like a densely populated city, it's still possible to see some of the meteorites. But some of them will be bright meteors, maybe a few brighter than any star or planet, or even as bright as the moon.

When looking at Gemini try to look about 30 to 45 degrees left or right of the constellation to spot the Geminids. The meteors will be going to all parts of the sky.

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