Geminid Meteor Shower

Tried to draw a meteor shower…

I tried to view the shower a few years ago. We drove miles, but we’re stuck under a cloud base that was miles across. I gave up after forty miles. Tonight it’s the same, cloud everywhere. But if you get the chance try and see it for yourself!

The Geminid meteor shower is tonight. (morning of 14th December 2020). I looked up the information on Wikipedia I’m afraid as I don’t know enough about them:

The Geminids are a prolific meteor shower caused by the object 3200 Phaethon,[4] which is thought to be a Palladian asteroid[5] with a “rock comet” orbit.[6] This would make the Geminids, together with the Quadrantids, the only major meteor showers not originating from a comet. The meteors from this shower are slow moving, can be seen in December and usually peak around December 6–14, with the date of highest intensity being the morning of December 14. The shower is thought to be intensifying every year and recent showers have seen 120–160 meteors per hour under optimal conditions, generally around 02:00 to 03:00 local time. Geminids were first observed in 1862,[1] much more recently than other showers such as the Perseids (36 AD) and Leonids (902 AD).

Geminids

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We (the Earth) is heading towards a stream of bits of rock from a comet called 3200 Phaethon. This is what  causes the annual Geminid meteor shower. It is expect to peak on December the 13th and 14th. The night before is the full Moon. But the Geminids are bright and can have brilliant fireballs during the shower so they may be visible even through the moonlight. The main problem in the UK is that its often too cloudy to see things like meteor showers. I’ve often stood outside and looked for meteors, but seen nothing.on one occasion long ago we drove off into the night to see if we could get out from underneath the cloud. We drove from Stoke to Buxton and Macclesfield, but to no avail. Apparently they had a good show in Liverpool that night. But we missed it.

Meteor showers can appear at all times of the day, but are best viewed at night. As the Eath turns different bits of it can be pointing into the comet debris at different times of day. Generally they are more visible after local midnight, but one part of the world may see nothing and another part several meteors a minute. It can also be dependent on the width or narrowness of the dust stream.

Happy viewing, wrap up warm!

The Orionids

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Coming up on 22nd October 2019 is the Orionid meteor shower. There have already been a few fireballs from the shower and they are due to peak at dawn on the 22nd so it might be worth setting an alarm.

Where do they come from? They are dusty remnants of the comet Halley. They are the dust cloud that came off the comet as it travelled through the solar system. Halley returns on a regular basis. It was identified as a recurring comet by the astronomer Edmund Halley when he realised it was the same comet that had been seen in the sky around the time of the battle of Hastings and then approximately every 100 years or so afterwards.

The meteors (or meteorites if they land) appear to radiate from the area around the star Orion which is why they are called the Orionids. There are other showers of meteors throughout the year. These include the Persids and the Geminids. Some showers are brighter than others. It depends on the debris cloud that the Earth moves through. The dust and debris for showers are in patches of space that the Earth moves through, hence their yearly appearance.

The Orionids apparently move faster than a lot of other meteors so they can create more of a show. The speed increases the friction and they burn up in the atmosphere faster.

You can find out more at a website called Spaceweather.com

Starry

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I’ve been making patterns again, this time using a close up of sequins on my jumper… Very random I know.

The stiches  on the jumper also add texture to the photo. I think the stars look like little dancing people holding hands.

I love stars and astronomy. I’m interested in things like the magnitude of stars, seeing comets, planets and asteroids. I read web pages like spaceweather.com which gives you information about CMEs (coronal mass ejections) from the Sun, which is caused by the sun’s magnetic lines of force getting tangled up and hurling out plasma from the sun’s surface.

If the weather is clear I will look out for meteor showers like the orionids or geminids (Based on the constellations they appear to emanate from).

I wish I lived in the southern hemisphere. I have heard of the magellanic clouds (small neighbouring satellite galaxies) which are below the plain of the ecliptic, which is the flat plain of our galaxy. Anything below that can only be seen from the south.

We (our planet) is topped at an angle of 22?degrees. So although we see constellations they vary with the seasons. They rise above the equator or sink below it depending on where we are in the year. If you sailed on a boat or flew on a plane at night you would see the constellations change as you flew north to South, or vice versa. Some constellations like the southern cross are only visible in the southern hemisphere and some like the plough or Great bear are only visible in the North.

I had a couple of little telescopes and once saw a tiny image of saturn and its rings and the galilean satellites of Jupiter – four moons that orbit Jupiter. There are more but are too small to see in a backyard telescope.

I’m no expert but I do like to learn. I’m sure there are lots of websites where you can find more information. Funny how I can ramble on after describing my jumper!

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