Observing Geminids

{primary link – Wish Upon a Shooting star}

This is one of the finest meteor showers, boasting up to 100 or more meteors per hour. The meteors appear to be originating from a point (called radiant) in the constellation of Gemini, a little north west of star Castor (α Geminorum). This shower shows a clumping effect: you see burst of a few meteors then nothing happens for next few minutes and then again there is a sudden burst of 4 or 5 meteors within a minute. You can see beautiful fireballs from this shower.

Observing Geminids: The radiant raises (for India or mid northern latitudes) about two hour after the sunsets.  Geminids are active from Dec. 4 to 17. The radiant raises (for India or mid northern latitudes) about two hour after the sunsets.

Geminids gave rather a poor show in 2016 but are expected to be quite active in 2017.  It is calculated that Geminids would peak on Dec 14 at 6:30 UT or 12:00 IST, which is  not favorable to an observer in India. Never the less one is expected to see a great show in the pre-dawn sky of 14th Dec. i.e. on the night of 13th of Dec.

The moon phase, too, is not quite favorable for this year but not too bad either.  Moon will rise about 3 hour before the sun. Only about 11% illuminated moon will be seen. Thus one has practically whole night to observe this shower.

For observing a meteor shower it is advised that one should look about 20 and 40 deg away from the radiant.  Please check the primary link given above. You may use the map given below to help you select a field centre.We have drawn two circles for you to choose the field centre from. A numbers in brackets next to a star is its magnitudes up to two decimal points. Capella [024] means it is 0.24 mag star. A meteor appearing to be as bright as Capella can be taken as 0th magnitude, OR that appearing as bright as Dubhe [202] can be taken as of 2nd magnitude etc.

geminid_circle2

Geminid field

You may download this form to record your observations Visual_Meteor_Observing_Log

 

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About skytonight

I am the present Director of Nehru Planetarium of Nehru Centre Mumbai, India I like to talk about astronomy and sky observations to general public.
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