Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

12/14/2012 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Unique conditions will make for excellent viewing.

If you can brave the cold, a special treat awaits you tomorrow night and into Friday morning. The Geminid meteor shower will peak in intensity on Thursday night through Friday morning. The shower is becoming increasingly popularity for its rising annual rates.

An exceptionally bright Geminid streaks across the sky in this photo.

An exceptionally bright Geminid streaks across the sky in this photo.

Article Highlights

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

12/14/2012 (1 year ago)

Published in Green

Keywords: Meteor shower, Geminid, meteors, viewing


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Forget the Christmas and Hanukkah lights on Thursday, as there is a more dazzling spectacle to be seen in the sky that night. Shooting stars, by the dozens, will be visible each hour overnight from Thursday December 13 through the 15th with the best viewing happening after midnight local time.

Meteor showers are regular, predictable occurrences, that take place at the same time each year as the Earth, on its journey around the sun, passes through trails of dust and debris shed by comets in the inner solar system.

When this dust strikes the Earth's upper atmosphere at speeds of up to 20 miles per second, the particles burn up and become visible to observers as shooting stars.

The Geminids are normally overlooked amid the holiday season, but astronomers are starting to take greater notice of them as their rates have been increasing for several decades. Now the shower reliably produces up to 80 to 120 meteors per hour under ideal conditions.

To get a sense of how much the meteor shower has increased, a hundred years ago, typical rates were around 15 to 20 meteors per hour.

This year's conditions, thanks to the new moon, are as close to ideal as one can get - cold weather and possible clouds aside.

In addition to the high rates of meteors, the Geminids are unusual for another reason. Their parent object is either an asteroid, or most likely, a dead comet, an object known to astronomers as 3200 Phatheon. Although Phatheon sheds debris, it stays in the inner-solar system, and does not brighten when it passes near the sun. Astronomers continue to debate the nature of the object.

In any case, its dust makes a fine spectacle for sky watchers.

To view the shower, bundle up warmly (in the northern hemisphere and places where it will be cold) and simply look up at the sky. It may take awhile, possibly an hour or more, for your eyes to adjust fully to the darkness, provided you are as far away from artificial light as possible. A drive to the country or mountains, away from the glow of city lights, will yield dividends. Rates improve dramatically after midnight because of the orientation of your local observing spot relative to the stream of debris.

There is no particular place to look, the meteors can appear at any point in the sky.

Most meteors will be blue or white, but other colors including orange, red, and green have been observed. Generally, one meteor will be visible every few minutes or so, with multiple meteors being simultaneously visible on rare occasions.

A warning: observing just after nightfall, local time will provide the worst viewing, only a few per hour may be visible, if at all. Patience, dark skies, and staying awake are the greatest virtues when observing meteor showers.

As value added, Jupiter will be visible as a bright cream colored star all night in the sky, and Venus will rise just before dawn in the west as a bright, gold-colored star.

---


Pope Francis calls for your 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women:
That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lordís invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.



Comments


More Green

MONSTER El Nino forming in South Pacific, will being devastating weather around the globe in 2014-2015 Watch

Image of We may see a sharp increase in severe weather events for 2014-2015.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

According to scientists, a massive El Nino is forming in the Pacific and it may be the largest such El Nino ever recorded. If true then the entire planet may experience an uptick in extreme weather events with serious consequences for life and property around the ... continue reading


World must turn to wind and solar to combat global warming, report says Watch

Image of Scientists are optimistic that if renewable energy is quickly rolled out, homes are built in a more sustainable and energy efficient way, and human consumption and wastefulness is changed, climate change can be controlled.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The world must turn to the wind or sun for its energy needs -- or face catastrophic consequences wrought by climate change. That's the news from a recent report from the United Nations on global warming. These devastating effects could take place as early as 15 ... continue reading


Former Indonesian tropical paradise reduced to garbage dump Watch

Image of The water at times turns red, green, yellow and black because of the high concentration of dyes.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As people in China's most air polluted cities cheerfully don face masks, a fisherman on Indonesia's Citarum River has blankly accepted his polluted fate. Once searching for fish, Herman, the name of the fisherman proffered to news reporters says he now looks ... continue reading


THIRD Oarfish sighting in Sea of Cortez stokes earthquake fears Watch

Image of A tour guide lies beside a beached oarfish specimen on the Isla San Francisco in Mexico.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An oarfish has been found washed on an island beach in Mexico, leading to speculation if it is one of the two previously sighted and filmed last month, or if it is in fact a third specimen. If it is a third, it could fuel rumors of an earthquake since anecdotal ... continue reading


Japanese island consumes another in unusual volcanic activity Watch

Image of Two volcanic craters are shown on Niijima on November 22. The island emerged about 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) south of Tokyo in the Ogasawara Islands, also known as the Bonin Islands.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In a spate of highly unusual volcanic activity, one Japanese island has merged with another nearby island. Niijima Island, a volcano which broke through the ocean's surface last November, has now merged with a nearby island that formed from a volcano which last ... continue reading


Are these oarfish in Mexico predicting an earthquake? Tourists film TWO live oarfish trying to beach themselves Watch

Image of Oarfish are legendary harbingers of earthquakes.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An amazing new video shows two oarfish swimming just offshore in Mexico to the delight of ecotourists on a kayaking tour. The video, taken last March, shows the pair of fish possibly about to beach themselves. Oarfish are rarely sighted and legend associates their ... continue reading


MASS EXTINCTION: All life on Earth went extinct 252 million years ago Watch

Image of The Permian-Triassic extinction has been defined as a natural event that heated up the Earth's biological systems.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Nearly all life on Earth became extinct 252 million years ago. According to Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or MIT scientists, the culprit was not an asteroid striking the planet, but a methane-spewing microbe. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Daniel ... continue reading


Bison, elk appear to be fleeing Yellowstone. Is supervolcano eruption eminent? Watch

Image of A supervolcano under Yellowstone could cause mass extinctions if it erupted.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Talk of a supervolcano eruption in Yellowstone National Park has hit the blogosphere after several people have posted videos of animals fleeing the sanctuary. A supervolcano eruption would destroy everything for hundreds of miles around and would plunge the planet into ... continue reading


Global warming is inevitable: It's time for a new ecology. Watch

Image of

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The latest revelation from climate scientists is that they now believe global climate change as a result of human activities is now inevitable and irreversible. Furthermore, it will affect everybody in the years to come-if it hasn't already. It is nigh time for a new ... continue reading


REPORT: Climate change will be 'severe, pervasive and irreversible' to human race Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

There's been a meeting in Japan on climate change and the news coming out of it is uniformly grim. Scientists and officials now say that impacts of climate change include a higher risk of flooding and changes to crop yields and water availability. LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


All Green News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Isaiah 50:4-9
4 Lord Yahweh has given me a disciple's tongue, for ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 69:8-10, 21-22, 31, 33-34
8 I am estranged from my brothers, alienated from my ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 26:14-25
14 Then one of the Twelve, the man called Judas ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 16th, 2014 Image

St. Bernadette
April 16: On April 16, 1879, Bernadette -- or Sister Marie-Bernard, as she ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter