Geminids

Designation — GEM
Activity Period — Dec 7 to Dec 17
Peak — Dec 14
Radiant RA: 7h 33m,  Dec: +33
Velocity — 35 km/sec
ZHR — 120
Parent body — Asteroid 3200 Phaethon

Prediction for 2015
The shower peaks on 14th Dec 2015 at about 11:30 pm IST.
This year lunar phase of 0.111 is quite favourable. Only about 11% illuminated moon will be seen. Moon sets within about three hours after the sun.  Start your observations from about 9:00 p.m.

How to observe:
A a few pointers given blow. For complete discussion on meteor showers and how to observe those  click here.

Geminid is one of the finest showers. One can see up to 75 meteors per hour. This shower shows a clumping effect: the sky is silent for 4 to 5 minutes and then there is a sudden burst of 4 or 5 meteors within a minute. You can see beautiful fireballs from this shower.

It is important to take a good sleep of at least four hours before going for observations. Wear warm cloths.

The radiant of the shower is close to star Castor in Gemini, however, the meteor actually become visible about 20 degrees away from it.

Use the map below and identify various stars and constellations shown. Then select a star within 20 and 40 deg. circle. That is it. Concentrate on the field selected by you. You will be rewarded.

It is not a good idea to shout and announce that you saw a meteor and if someone does so – ask him or her to ‘shut up’. This is because by the time you shift your gaze to that direction the ‘announced’ meteor it would have already gone and then you might miss one that would appear in your chosen field.

To remain awake people often take Coffee or Tea, instead it is a good idea to have warm milk.

Geminid field

geminid_circle2

Choose a star between 20 and 40 deg circles as your field centre. Numbers in brackets are the magnitudes up to two decimal points. Capella [24] means it is 0.24 mag star or star Menkalinan [130] means it is 1.30 mag star.  A meteor appearing to be as bright as Capella can be taken as 0th magnitude.

 

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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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