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Geminid Meteor Shower 122

An anonymous reader writes " is carrying a story on the upcoming Geminid meteor shower, which will peak on December 13th. This is usually a high-rate meteor shower, and this year will be no different. The early morning hours are the best time to see them. is also reporting on the shower. This shower was also covered by Slashdot in 2003, 2002, and 2001."
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Geminid Meteor Shower

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  • I have never seen the this shower because I live in a northerly climate that isnt hospitable to astronomy most of the time. Will it be worth the 5 hour trip south?
  • I for one welcome our apocalyptic overlords.

    Where's Bruce Willis?

  • by datastalker ( 775227 ) on Sunday December 12, 2004 @01:00PM (#11066753) Homepage
    Remember kids, for best viewing experience, just lie on the ground facing up - most of this can be seen with the naked eyes. If you want to try binoculars, that might work as well - but telescopes are not needed for this one. If someone had told me that the first time I went out to look, I wouldn't have wasted those first two hours wondering why I couldn't see anything. ;)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 12, 2004 @01:01PM (#11066754)
    Sounds painful, I'll stick with the more traditional water based shower thanks.
  • Light pollution (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FiReaNGeL ( 312636 ) <fireang3l@hGAUSS ... m minus math_god> on Sunday December 12, 2004 @01:03PM (#11066774) Homepage
    I sure love meteor showers (as everyone does I guess; I mean, free wishes!), but observing them in non-light polluted areas [] ain't easy. You have to get out of town, and even then, finding a 100% dark place is an adventure nowadays.
    • However, we got out far enough in the country last night for a party that we got to see about 20-30 events before getting in the car to head home. It simply rocked. Hoping to get out somewhere in the countryside again tomorrow night to try and catch more of them.
    • I reckon you are assuming that all of us here are city folk, then ain't ya?

      I live in an area so dark at night the lightning bugs wake us up in the springtime.

      Damn them critters.

      • Re:Light pollution (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ScrewMaster ( 602015 )
        At least you still have them. Thirty years ago, we would get swarms of thousands upon thousands of them. But I read that they need low-hanging shrubs and bushes and the like to reproduce, and since so much of my area has been built up in the past few decades you hardly ever see lightning bugs any more. Too bad, they really are a neat adaptation. As a kid I would collect them in a bottle and watch them blink by my bedside all night, and let them go in the morning.

        Quite a few years ago I went up to Rhi
        • As to noise, I'd had the opposite happen. I lived in a quiet place for all of my life. One week away, in a noisy place, and the first night was TOO QUIET for comfortable sleep! Odd!
    • Re:Light pollution (Score:2, Interesting)

      by ztirffritz ( 754606 )
      The best stargazing I've ever done was after helping a friend build a tent platform on Blewitt Pass in Washington state. I saw so many stars I thought my eyes were broken. I now unerstand why we were building a tent platform and not a cabin. I developed a whole new appreciation for star gazing. I still don't get the whole constellations naming thing. I don't see the pictures nor do I see the appeal.
      • Re:Light pollution (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Cecil ( 37810 ) on Sunday December 12, 2004 @02:41PM (#11067240) Homepage
        I still don't get the whole constellations naming thing. I don't see the pictures nor do I see the appeal.

        The reason we still bother having constellations today is because they provide an easy way of mapping the sky in your head (at least once you get to know them). It's the similar to the way saying something is in Northern Canada gives you a better idea of where it is than saying something is at 61.297 N 112.883 W, even though the former is completely arbitrary.
    • I'd wish for more meteor showers so I get even more wishes.
    • Does anyone know of a good, high-resolution light pollution map? That would really help. In N.E., the best place to go is usually Vermont or Maine, with some decent viewing in the less touristy / highway-laced portions of western MA and northern NH.

      Woefully, for this shower, NE is going to be cloudy :-(
    • I have a question about the map you linked to o_ ridotto0p25.gif

      Are the Falklands Islands (or Maldives if you prefer) really that bright? They appear to be the most light-polluted spot in South America and that just seems odd to me. Perhaps it is an optical illusion of the projection used in the map.
    • alas, the backyard observer is forever damned by civilization. however large scale astronomy need not be stunted in the same manner, replacing mercury vapor lamps with sodium yellow lamps and using light direction more efficiently can alleviate alot of the problem. Dec 13 11pm i shall be heading out to long island from the city to hopefully catch a glimpse of the bombardment. still the light is so pervasive here i fear i will need my most powerful astronomical imagination.
    • I'd gladly drive a couple of hours out of the DFW area if I didn't have finals this week!

      And your comment about it being an adventure is dead on. Two years ago during the Leonids, my friend and I drove way out to the middle of nowhere only to be chased by Dog Soldiers [] and then end up in a location where people watch you pee in the dark with night vision enabled cameras. Damn, darkness does weird things to the imagination.
  • It was interesting looking at the 01, 02, and 03 posts just to see how much the /. community has grown since then.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I live in the uk, near London. Will I be able to see it?
    • depends on the weather. If you have clear skies, you should be able to see some meteors. Quote from article:

      According to McBeath, the Geminids are predicted to reach peak activity on Monday at 22:20 GMT, which is 5:20 p.m. EST. Locations from Europe and North Africa east to central Russian and Chinese longitudes are in the best position to catch the very crest of the shower, when the rates conceivably could exceed 120 per hour, or two every minute.
    • I live near Cambridge. Checking ForecastFox it guesstimates it will be a partly-cloudy here. Still, I live a little away from a small town, you are in the city. You will be able to see it but probably will have to get to a dark park. Beware of the perverts.
    • From PhysOrg:
      Note: This story is written for northern-hemisphere observers, but Geminids are visible all over the world.
  • Shower? (Score:2, Funny)

    by daniil ( 775990 )
    OK, you bastards. Who forgot to turn off the tap?
  • Weather forecast calls for clouds, rain and snow for the next 2-3 days. :-(

    Why can't they schedule these things for clear nights?
  • This shower was also covered by Slashdot in 2003, 2002, and 2001.

    It's been running for three years? Which one of you bastards forgot to turn off the tap?

  • Meteor scatter (Score:5, Interesting)

    by latroM ( 652152 ) on Sunday December 12, 2004 @01:21PM (#11066843) Homepage Journal
    Meteor showers used by radio amateurs for meteor scatter []. Basically they point their beams at the meteor shower when it hits earth and have long distance QSOs (radio amateur contacts) by bouncing their signal from the rocks.
    • Re:Meteor scatter (Score:4, Informative)

      by Flying Purple Wombat ( 787087 ) on Sunday December 12, 2004 @01:43PM (#11066947)
      The signals are actually reflected from the trails of ionized gas created by the rocks burning up in the atmosphere. The rocks themselves are far too small to be useful reflectors.
    • by w9wi ( 162482 ) on Sunday December 12, 2004 @03:42PM (#11067559)
      It may be possible to observe the radio effects of the meteor shower without being a ham or having an extensive station.

      Regular FM radio and TV broadcasts are also reflected by the ionized trails.

      Try tuning to an empty channel, as low on the dial as possible. Of course, for TV you'll need a set with a regular antenna, not cable or satellite. For FM, your car radio is probably the best radio you own for this purpose.

      Sit there and listen/watch. You should see/hear brief bursts of signal. If you're really lucky, you'll hear something that will allow you to identify the station you saw/heard.

      Might be something interesting to listen to while you're waiting for visible meteors -- or for the clouds to go away...
      • "It may be possible to observe the radio effects of the meteor shower without being a ham or having an extensive station."

        I am pretty certain that not being a ham will not reduce your chances of observing the radio effects of the meteor shower in the slightest.
        In fact, dare I say, it will drastically increase those chances.
        For although hams are known for their numerous pleasant qualities,
        a nack for the detection of radiowaves does not appear to be among them.

        But in all fairness it needs to be said t

  • After missing Perseids (DAMN BRITISH WEATHER!) I really wanna see this one. Questions:

    • They say Dec 13th. As I write this it's 5PM, Dec 12th. They also say early morning is the best time. Do they mean early-morning Dec 13th, in 7 hours time - or early morning Dec 14th, in 31 hours time? (More likely IMO).
    • Secondly, I live in Somerset, UK. Will I see anything?

    • Re:urgent questions (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      TFA no. 2 says "According to McBeath, the Geminids are predicted to reach peak activity on Monday at 22:20 GMT"
    • Quote from article:

      According to McBeath, the Geminids are predicted to reach peak activity on Monday at 22:20 GMT, which is 5:20 p.m. EST. Locations from Europe and North Africa east to central Russian and Chinese longitudes are in the best position to catch the very crest of the shower, when the rates conceivably could exceed 120 per hour, or two every minute.
    • The shower's peak is on Monday evening at 22:20 GMT. That is 10:20 P.M. where you are, and 5:20 P.M. over here. It's worth looking before and after this time, however, by hours or even a day or two. Technically the best time to watch any meteor shower in general is at midnight.
      The Geminids are visible from the entire planet, I believe, although the northern hemisphere is favoured. You should see them.
      I live in the country but Ontario may be cloud covered on Monday night/Tuesday morning. If not, I plan on
    • I saw several Meteors between 11pm last night and 2am this morning on the North Wales coast while doing some field work on some lagoons there (don't ask, Ok). It was certainly the best view of meteors I have had made even better by seeing some reflections of them in the pools. In Somerset you will certainly be able to see them unless you're: a) in a town centre b) standing below a street light c) It's cloudy (Yes, I know someone who spent hours looking on a cloudy night) d) blind e) unlucky It might tak
    • head up to the Mendips, hardly any light pollution there if you stay a few miles away from the radio transmitters.

      Monday night UK time is best apparently
    • Unless it is explicitly for american people, usually times given in astronomical magazines or web pages are for UT. Luck helps us, UT is GMT unless it is BST, then we are UT-1.

      Get a deck chair and a thick blanket. Go to a park. Sit down and start watching. Hot coffee will help. You don't need any more equipment for a meteor shower. And patience. And luck. Having two people or more helps because you can cover a greater portion of the sky and alert each other for fireballs.

      If you have an old-type film camera,

  • We're socked in with nothing but clouds now for the last three days straight. I look like Jack Nicholson in 'The Shining,' and my paranoia has the best of me right now. Say "hello" to Mr. Seasonal Affective Disorder.
  • This is news? This meteor storm happens every year, for millions of years! What next, a "fusion breakthrough" story about the mass of incandescent gas rising above the horizon every morning? ... OK, kidding: I love the announcements of astrophysical displays appearing on Slashdot. It's like "Weather for Nerds" in our little chromium-oxide rag. Maybe I've had too much holiday cheer, and am getting in touch with my inner Grinch.
    • If a tree falls in the woods and noone's there to hear it fall, will it still make noise? If the Earth moves through the Geminid stream and noone reports on it, will there still be a meteor shower?
      • Meteors intercept the Earth's atmosphere without human witnesses, but aren't a "shower" without us. Trees make noise alone in the woods, but not sound - that's the sound of one hand clapping.
      • Nope: nothing exists until it is observed. Reality is spooooky, ain't it? I didn't even write this response until you looked at it!
        • There are several kinds of reality. I'm not going into details here, as it's not necessary. I'll only mention one kind of reality.

          Each one of us has their own subjective reality. These might overlap in some respects, but they're never completely the same. My reality is different from yours. In your reality, you didn't write that post until you wrote it. In my reality, you didn't write this post until i looked at it (or, rather, until i looked at the message telling me that you had written a reply to my pos
  • Brockman: (Wearing tons of gold jewelery after Old Springfield discovers gold in dry river) "Thanks to the people in New Springfield, we'll all be taking golden showers!"

    (Studio crew busts up)

    Brockman: "......what?"
  • by YankeeInExile ( 577704 ) * on Sunday December 12, 2004 @02:05PM (#11067056) Homepage Journal

    Remember, in a few weeks, the year number will increment for all users of the Gregorian calendar.

    You read it here on /. first! Warn all your friends -- don't be one of those saps still writing 2004 on your checks come next January!

  • /.'ed already? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    If you were disappointed with the meager showing put on by this year's Leonid meteor shower, don't fret. What could be the best meteor display of the year is scheduled to reach its peak on Monday night, Dec. 13.

    Skywatchers with dark skies away from city lights could see one or two meteors every minute during the Geminid meteor shower. The greatest activity is expected to be visible from North America, Europe and Africa.

    The Geminids get their name from the constellation of Gemini, the Twins.
  • Perhaps I'll see a streak or two as I'm trudging to my Statistics for Engineers exam at 0645 AM or so.

    Two years ago I stayed out till 4am or so watching Leonids, they were cool but the display was dissapointing (even tho skys were clear) compared to how much they had been hyped as having a huge turnout that year. Would probably stay out and look for these but that exam...
  • President Bush is initiating plans to build a meteor-shower protection shield above China... with modular extension capabilities for later optional purposes.
  • hm... interesting. i love to see that.
  • Most people see this article as a dupe, but I as a new poster & young adult (only 20 years old) didnt know this was a recurring meteor shower, and was welcomed by the newspost, as I'm currently making plans to go and see it. Don't pass off yearly events so easily cause you already know of it, most people unfortunately dont.
  • Go to Mt. Pinos. If you live around the LA area, just hop on the I-5 north. Keep going until you get to a sign that says "Frazier Park" and turn off. Then head past the gas stations and keep on going straight. You'll pass through town, into the hills (with lots of little country homes) and finally into the winding road that goes up Mount Pinos. As you go up the windy little road, you'll notice little signs on the right side of the road that have numbers on them... The road ends at 13.50.

    When you arrive, the view is just breathtaking. Every constellation clearly visible. The end of the road is a large, cleared parking area ringed by trees up to about 20 degrees elevation. And it's definetly Geminid season... I saw about 10 or 12 meteors in the occasional times I looked up over about 3 hours.

    Come heavily dressed (hits freezing before midnight): I find that two shirts and a jacket plus sweat pants and windbreaker pants will keep you warm for about 3-4 hours.

    To get an idea of the weather, use the Mt. Pinos Dark Sky Clock [].
  • Come on over. :) (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Shag ( 3737 ) * on Sunday December 12, 2004 @04:15PM (#11067721)
    A bunch of us hardy souls will doubtless be at the Mauna Kea Visitor Information Station [] at 9200 feet, watching.

    (I'd watch from the summit [] but it's gonna be colder up there.)

    The most convenient airports are ITO and KOA in that order. :)

  • Ok, I'm a college student in Minneapolis, and personally, I think this is a GREAT opportunity for a romantic hookup. (Whats this? A slashdotter hooking up?!)

    But what I want to know is, where near Minneapolis (less than 30 min. drive preferably) can I go to see this clearly? I mean, I'd feel like a retard if we drove out there and then its like, whoops, no meteor shower.

    Also, whats the best time to drive out to watch?

  • OK, is it just me, or does the word "upcoming" seem to imply enough time to actually plan to watch this? I mean, if it peaks tomorrow that's not much advance notice, now is it?

    Though maybe the submitter sent in the article last week, and Taco just didn't get around to publishing it until today. Let's check the original article....

    The best meteor shower of 2004 peaks on Dec. 13th

    December 10, 2004

    Yeah, three days is enough notice to clear a schedule. Thirteen hours ain't. Thanks for nuthin, Commander.
  • so, living on the south edge of a good-sized city... any chance of me seeing this, or should I drive out to the sticks that night?
  • And where do I live? Burien, Washington, where it's going to be raining for the next five days, just as it was for the last five days, and the days before that. ARRRRRGGGGGGHHHHH. I have a new 10" Dobsonian and I still haven't gotten first light on it!

  • The International Meteor Organization has some guidelines online for reporting your observations of the Geminids. Take a look at [] Good luck... Luc
  • I love missing out on meteor showers and lunar eclipses because it's cloudy and raining. At least it's not cold, as we rarely get below freezing.

Someday your prints will come. -- Kodak