The famous “spectacle” of the Geminid meteor shower will peak in mid-December, with thousands of astronomy enthusiasts around the world awaiting it. If you don’t have much experience observing meteor showers, or want to learn more about the Geminids… Do you want to see with your own eyes the brilliant meteor trails streaking across the sky? So don’t miss the useful information below!
BASIC INFORMATION ABOUT THE GEMINIDS METEOR SHOWER
- Origin: 3200 Phaeton (meteor)
- Activities: from December 4 to December 17 each year
- Maximum frequency: 120 streaks/hour
- Broadcast point: constellation Gemini (Gemini)
- Meteor speed: 35 km/s
History of the Geminid Meteor Shower – From Past to Present
Every December, our planet will pass into the orbit of an object called 3200 Phaethon, a small asteroid measuring only about 5 km. The Geminids come from debris scattered along the path of this asteroid, appearing during its collision with another celestial body in the past.
According to records, the Geminid meteor shower was first observed about 200 years ago, in 1833, from a boat on the Mississippi River. But at that time, people could only see about 10 to 20 meteors per hour.
Geminid meteor shower in 2015. Photo: Antoni Cladera
Since their discovery, the number of meteors has become increasingly dense. So far we can observe up to 120 streaks per hour. The reason is that Jupiter’s gravity has brought debris and dust closer to Earth over centuries, meaning our planet will hit more debris every year, creating spectacular performances.
The 2019 Geminids will be strongly influenced by moonlight
Like other years, the Geminid meteor shower is always a highlight of the year, awaited by the community of astronomy enthusiasts around the world. The Geminids have the largest number of meteors of the year. On a clear, dark night we can see over 50 meteors per hour, even in ideal conditions the maximum can be up to 120 meteors.
This year, the Geminids meteor shower will peak on the night of December 13 and early morning of December 14. The time when meteors appear strongest is around 2 a.m. on the 14th – that’s when the starting point for this meteor shower falls. highest position in the sky.
However, you can observe from 9 or 10 p.m. the day before until dawn, or even a few days before and after the peak. Note that you should not observe just after dark because at this time the number of visible meteors is very low.
The starting point of the Geminid meteor shower is in the constellation Gemini, but you don’t need to find that constellation. Photo: Skyandtelescope
This year, the maximum Geminid night falls when the Moon is near its full phase. The bright moon causes the number of visible meteors to decrease significantly, to about 20 to 30 per hour. However, the Geminids are famous for their long, bright meteors and numerous bright “fireballs”, so despite the moonlight you will be able to see this wonderful spectacle.
As their name suggests, the Geminids come from the constellation Gemini. This constellation will rise in the East at dusk, reach its zenith at 2 a.m. then gradually diminish in the West. In the Northern Hemisphere, to find Gemini, count on our “hunter” Orion, equipped with three very bright aligned stars at the “waist” level: Gemini will be on the left side of Orion. .
How to watch the 2019 Geminids meteor shower
Is observing the Geminids meteor shower necessary to find the constellation Gemini?
The answer is Are not.
The truth is that if you just look towards the constellation Gemini, you won’t be able to see the long “tails” of meteorites that cross the sky and the process that goes from their burning to their disappearance. Move your eyes away, covering the entire sky so you don’t miss any meteor trails or bright fireballs!
To observe meteor showers, you need to have specialized observation equipment such as binoculars and telescopes?
Are not. This is the most common mistake many people make when observing meteor showers. To observe the meteor shower, we Use absolutely only with the naked eyethese devices will only make your vision more limited.
Geminid meteor shower. Photo: Thomas W. Earle
Meteor showers can be seen anywhere, so why in a city can you only see one for an hour??
Note that if you wish to observe a good meteor shower, the conditions are: The sky is quite dark, there are no clouds or light pollution. In urban areas, what hinders the observation of the sky is not only the light of the Moon but also the light of buildings, vehicles, street lamps… these elements cause light pollution, which makes the sky observation very difficult..
If you have free time, find a breezy place with cloudless skies and away from the electric lights of residential areas. Remember to dress warmly, bring a shirt or blanket to avoid catching a cold, and let your eyes get used to the darkness for about 20 to 30 minutes. All you have to do is sit in one place, look into the distance, covering the entire sky, or invite a few friends to observe from different directions. You can lie on the ground for greater comfort. Don’t use your phone if you don’t want to miss any meteors. In addition, you will also be able to observe some famous celestial objects in the winter sky such as the Orion Nebula, the Andromeda Galaxy, the Winter Hexagon, the Pleiades star cluster,…
Are you ready to enjoy this brilliant winter “light show”?
Tham khảo EarthSky, Space