TØøNight! “Get yourself a blanket & a clear View of SKY, U could be in for a Great Show!” * / * / * / * / \WisH-TiMe/

=••= Sky-watchers Get Set for Cosmic Fireworks Show!

*\*\* Strong Geminid meteor shower predicted this year ! *\*\*

    ||wh000ps! {I forGot to “activate it”,) • bUt-
    There’s ~still~ LOTs of Time! {+ TØmørrøw, t00..} |

    ^AND^ I ActuALLy did SEE*–» 2*~-» of the Sh00ting*Stars! ;D
    @ around 2:20 a.m.!

    HOW C00L…. ¥**WI!SH! #TIME#!**¥ `;{) ||

.

    |Andrew Fazekas,
    for Nat Geo News,
    Dec 11, 2012|

Sky-watchers are in for an early holiday TreaT as mid-December marks PEAK of Geminid meteor shower, the most * prolific & Mysterious * annual cosmic fireworks show.
The meteor shower has been grOwing in intensity 0ver recent decades & should be better-than-usual this* year!
b/c it falls during a nearly m00nless week
.
*\Dozens*\~»» of Shooting*Stars per hour should streak across the SKY on the night of Dec 13 ~ into early hours of Dec 14, making “the Geminids” strongest, most reliable celestial shows around.

    (See pics from 2010: “Brilliant Geminids Dazzle Sky-Watchers.”)

“Usual yield estimates = b/w 80-120* meteors PER hour*~» under good viewing conditions,” [Ben Burress, staff astronomer – Chabot Space/Science Ctr, Oakland CA]

    “Fortunately December 13th is new (• m00n, so there will
    be n0 ((m00n)) at all during the shower,”
    he added; viewing from as DARK a location as possible, far from city lights, is the best*way to see the meteors.

Stronger Through the Years *=»

Historically the Geminids were overlooked by most amateur astronomers simply b/c the annual event occurs so close to busy holiday season & frigid winter nights—but that’s beginning to change thanks to its rising* intensity over the past few decades.
In fact, for many astronomers, the Dec. meteors have now dethroned the more popular “August Perseids” as shooting*star*Event of the Year.
“This shower was 1st noticed in 1862, & its intensity* has been INcreasing over the past 100 years,”
[Jim Todd, planetarium mgr @ OR Museum of Science & Industry].
“Around 1900, the peak averaged 15-20 meteors/hour, but is nOw
grown to well 0ver 100* per hour*!”

Mysterious Parentage*=»

Reason for the UPswing?
Astronomers believe that Earth is plowing deeper every yr into an ancient* debris stream
~•left beHind•~ by a
«~ø~»
mysterious* 3-mile-wide [5-km] asteroid-like object
((((orbiting the iNNer solar system)))). . .
But ~unlike other meteor showers that spring from material shed by melting icy comets as they swing close to sun,
scientists “aren’t sure” whether the Geminids’ parent object, called “3200 Phaethon”,
is an asteroid 0r a nearly dead comet.
“This object does n0t develop a cometary tail when it passes near the sun, -but-
bits of it do break off during its journey past the sun,” Todd explained.
“When Earth passes through this debris, we experience the Geminid meteor shower
After Phaethon was discovered in 1983 by a NASA satellite, astronomers quickly matched its year-&-1/2 orbit precisely with the Geminids, making it a prime candidate for source of the meteors.

*\* Ø *\* ø

A Great Show*=»

Since Geminids hit the atmosphere abt 20 miles/second (32 km/s)
~slower~ than other meteor showers—they
create *beautiful long ARCs* across~the~sky that can last for a second or 2. | 😀 |
Favoring observers in North Hemisphere, the shower’s “radiant”—(pt in sky from which meteors appear to originate)—is constellation Gemini ~ Rises above Eastern-> horizon after 9 p.m. local.
* Observers will want to =~» head outside b/w 10 p.m.–5 a.m. local time, but best views will be in the wee hours of Friday morn.
“At around **2 a.m.** local time is when show will be AT its Best—as the shower’s Radiant point in Gemini reaches highest in the sky, = directly | South” =
Øø +for a sky-watch bOnus, keen-eyed observers also have opportunity to spy several planetary neighbors as shooting-*\*\*-Stars rain down.
“Just West«- of constellation Gemini will be the brilliant planet Jupiter* shining bright, visible thru’out the night.”

Øø Øø

“While just b4 sunrise,
Saturn, Venus,& Mercury appear*
above the SouthEastern \» horizon for a beautiful display.”

    => “Get yourself a blanket* & a clear view* of the sky, because yoU could be in for a Great Show!”. . . .

* / * / * / * / * /

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/121211-geminid-meteor-shower-space-science/?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=Social&utm_content=link_tw20121213news-geminidmeteorshower2&utm_campaign=Content

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