Away from city lights from 7th December, 2009 to 17th December, 2009 people can witness celestial spectacle of Geminid Meteor Shower from pollution free dark skies.
As per the report of International Meteor Organization (IMO) peak is expected in the morning of December 14 (5h00 UT), coinciding with a perfect new Moon. Many tens of meteors per hour will be visible in the nights surrounding December 13/14, with highest rates upto a max of 120 ZHR occurring in the hours after local midnight when the radiant reaches its highest altitude in the sky. For most observers, the best time to look will be from 10 pm local time on Sunday night to dawn on Monday morning during peak.
Where to Look/What to expect– No Telescopes - Twin Stars of Gemini Const : Though meteor shower is at peak on 14th Dec at 5.00 a.m. UTC considering the variable nature of this shower. Expert records in last two decade suggests 2.20 am is best time to look above one’s head when maximum meteors can be observed. Telescopes/binoculars are not required. One can see bright streaks of light zipping across the sky and would seem as if they are emanating from star called castor from Gemini constellation where the radiant of this shower lies.
Where do i have to look if i want to see meteor showers in the Morning or Evening or Midnight ? Can i see the Meteor showers on 16th and 17th December,09 ?
During Midnight, Evening/Morning 14-17 Dec – Follow Twin Stars of Gemini: People can witness this celestial spectacle uptill 17th of December,09. All one has to do is to spot Twin Stars of Gemini constellation. Evening : People can observe the meteors by looking towards sky above between North East and East Direction from 10.00 p.m onwards, while they are visible near to mid of sky by the time it is midnight whereas Morning walkers can see it in the western sky in the morning.
Society suggests observation from pollution free dark clear skies away from city lights with good horizon for splendid experience.
Why do they call it has Geminid Meteor shower ? Actually what is Meteor shower ?
A meteor is a shooting star (layman’s Language), space dust about the size of a grain of sand. The dust hits the earth’s atmosphere and burns up in a blaze of light. This meteor shower gets the name "Geminids" because it appears to radiate from the constellation Gemini.
Where does space dust come from?
Comets and asteroids pass through our solar system. During such pass comets leave dust behind them. When earth crosses through these dust clouds we see a meteor shower. When a speck of this dust hits Earth's atmosphere traveling it disintegrates in a bright flash of light—a meteor!
So what is the source of space dust for Geminid Meteor Shower ?
3200 Phaethon the parent body of Geminid Meteor showers is Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (PHA) : On 10th December,07 it flew past Earth at a distance of about 11 million miles away shining like a 14th magnitude star in the constellation Virgo. As of now Earth is passing through a stream of debris from extinct comet 3200 Phaethon, which is source of the annual Geminid meteor shower.
What is special about Geminid Meteor Shower ?
The Geminids are one of the popular annual meteor showers occurring visible from India apart from Leonids which occurs in November . While most meteor showers come from comets, Geminids has a its origin from an Asteroid—a near-Earth object named 3200 Phaethon.. Asteroids don't normally spew dust/particles like comets into space. However it is believed 3200 its once extinct comet.