Geminid Meteors to Provide Excellent Sky Show!
The following is from: http://www.chiff.com/science/geminids.htm
The Geminid meteor shower is
an annual meteor shower that is extremely regular in its timing and can
potentially be visible for days in the late-autumn sky, depending on weather
and location. The Geminid meteor shower is named after the
constellation Gemini, which is located in roughly the same point of the night
sky where the Geminid meteor shower appears to originate from. In late autumn
or early winter, that means viewing the spectacular light show with eyes
pointed straight up in the night sky.
Geminids are pieces of debris from 3200 Phaethon, basically a rocky skeleton of a comet that lost most of its outer covering of ice after too many close encounters with the sun. Each December, Earth passes through the debris cloud left by the comet as sand-sized specks enter the earth's atmosphere producing a spectacular show of "falling stars."
When and where to look for Geminids 2014
Beginning in early December, the Geminid meteor shower grows in intensity to finally reach its zenith on the night of December 13 and continue overnight into the early morning hours. The predicted peak is just after midnight on December 14.
This month's growing full moon reaches its maximum on December 17,
so expect somewhat obstructed viewing of at least the fainter stars on or
around the 13th. Weather depending, look east in the early evening, (or look
straight up later in the wee morning hours) to watch for the brightest meteors
speeding by at 140 meteors an hour in the final major meteor shower of the
In North America, Canada and US East Coast residents will have the best viewing that night into the early hours on the 14th, but as Geminids are a "long tail" event, expect additional views growing less spectacular several days or nights before and after the peak. While the Geminids have been comparatively a non-event in the last century, they have grown more spectacular in the recent past and this year is predicted to be no exception.
One of the teacher activities linked is Ken's simple way to demonstrate the Phases of Venus, which Galileo saw 400 years ago. The activity can be found here: Galileo Was Right!
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