Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Geminids

December isn't exactly prime time for sitting out in the cold and dark, but early this morning could have been the exception: The most productive meteor shower of the year is due to reach its peak last night and this morning.

There's lots that's appealing about this year's Geminids: Astronomers say the shooting stars could be spotted at a rate of more than one per minute under peak conditions (the equivalent of 60 to 120 per hour). The moon is in its first-quarter phase, meaning that it'll be setting around midnight and won't be glaring in the sky during the peak viewing hours (midnight to morning twilight). Earth is projected to pass through the thickest part of the meteor debris stream during the wee hours of the morning for North Americans, who are in just about the best position to see the maximum flash.

So what's the problem? Why aren't the Geminids as highly anticipated and well-known as the Perseids of August or the Leonids of November. Well, the biggest drawback is that it's c-c-c-cold out there.

Forget it this year in Glenville. It is thankfully overcast. With the temperature now at 7 degrees, this is way too cold to be outside even if one bundles up and has gallons of hot chocolate!


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