Viewing the Geminid Meteor Shower

December 8, 2012

IMG_2549mod - Aurora Borealis

IMG_2549mod – Aurora Borealis, photo by something28

UPDATED FOR 2013! via EarthSky:

The peak night of the 2013 Geminid meteor shower is expected to be from late evening tonight (Friday, December 13) until dawn tomorrow (December 14). The meteors will be flying, but will you see them in the bright light of the waxing gibbous moon? The brighter ones, yes, and the Geminids do tend to be bright. If you want a moonless sky, your best bet on this night is to watch in the narrow window between moonset and dawn on Saturday.

Welcome to the “Spot the Geminid Meteor” edition of Michigan in Pictures! EarthSky’s Meteor Shower Guide for 2012 says that the last meteor shower of 2012 will be the Geminids, peaking late night December 13 until dawn December 14:

The final major meteor shower of every year (unless one surprises us!) is always the December Geminid shower, often producing 50 or more meteors per hour. It is a beloved shower, because, as a general rule, it’s either the August Perseids or the December Geminids that give us the most prolific display of the year. Best of all, the new moon guarantees a dark sky on the peak night of the Geminid shower (mid-evening December 13 until dawn December 14). But the nights on either side of the peak date should be good as well. Unlike many meteor showers, you can start watching the Geminids by 9 or 10 p.m. local time. The peak might be around 2 a.m. local time on these nights, because that’s when the shower’s radiant point is highest in the sky as seen around the world. With no moon to ruin the show, 2012 presents a most favorable year for watching the grand finale of the meteor showers. Best viewing of the Geminids will probably be from about 1 a.m. to 3 a.m. on December 14.

Click through for some meteor viewing tips and here’s hoping for another Aurora Borealis/Geminid combo!

Paul shot this north of Lansing in December 2006 when the Geminid shower was complimented by a fantastic Northern Lights display! Can you see the meteor a little right of center? Click to view on black, see more in his The Night Sky slideshow or view all 80 photos from the evening in his December 14, 2006 gallery.

There’s lots more meteors & northern lights on Michigan in Pictures!

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