Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Meteors and Other Celestial Events

On Tuesday night, around midnight, my husband and I drove several miles out into the rural countryside--technically known as "the middle of nowhere"--to view the Geminids Meteor Shower.

Unfortunately, Tuesday night was also the coldest night here in Kansas since last February--a low of twelve degrees! But at least there was little wind, so no wind chill to add insult to injury. We bundled up as well as we could, though I was still stamping my feet to stay warm, feeling like a horse. :-)

But it was worth it. We saw lots of meteors--quick shooting stars, and longer meteors with colors and leaving trails behind them. It's awesome to witness something like that--meteor showers, eclipses, comets, viewing the moon through a telescope--things that make us realize the universe is a big and beautiful place.

How many of you went outside to view the Geminids? Do you watch for other events in the sky? Which ones are your favorites?

Keep looking up!

Liz

2 comments:

sweetpea said...

Hi, I was wondering if you knew what time the Geminids appear on Dec. 14, 2005. I find sites saying that they appear at 2:24 UT, but I'm so confused about am and pm. I live in Southwestern Michigan and am hoping to share viewing them with my boyfriend on his birthday. If you can help that would be great! My Email is Kemoarabian78@hotmail.com Thanks!

Elizabeth Delisi said...

One website I found said they'll appear at 9 p.m. local time on Dec. 13: http://comets.amsmeteors.org/meteors/showers/geminids.html

So if you go out on Dec. 14 to check, it should be about the same time. Dec. 13 is probably the peak, but they'd also appear on the 14th.

Now, NASA tells a little different story: http://science.nasa.gov/newhome/headlines/ast04dec98_1.htm

They say the Geminids can be seen anytime after 10 p.m. local time on Dec. 13, but the peak will be between 2 a.m. and dawn the next morning (the 14th). So you could start watching at 10 p.m. on the 13th and just stay right up till dawn!

It also says the moon will be in its waning crescent phase, which means there won't be much, if any, moonlight to interfere with seeing the Geminids.

Hope you and your boyfriend enjoy the show!