NASA Chat: Stay 'Up All Night' to Watch the Geminids!

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Stay 'Up All Night' to Watch the Geminids!

2013 Geminid meteor shower and star trails

The annual Geminid meteor shower peaked on the night of Dec. 13-14, 2013. NASA astronomer Bill Cooke, along with Danielle Moser and Rhiannon Blaauw from his team of experts, answered questions via a live web chat.

The Geminid meteor shower is the most intense meteor shower of the year. It lasts for several days (Dec. 12-16), is rich in fireballs and can be seen from almost any point on Earth. The waxing gibbous moon will reduce the rate by half, except for the brief time between moonset (4 a.m. local time) and sunrise. Convert to your local time here.

Photo: Geminid meteors and star trails, 2012. Copyright Jeff Berkes. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

Live Geminids Chat! (Opens at 11 p.m. EDT)

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How to See Geminid Meteors
The best time to view Geminids is normally around 1-2 a.m. your local time. This year, the presence of a bright moon may make 4 a.m. to dawn a better time. Find a place away from city lights, then allow 45 minutes for your eyes to adjust to darkness. Lie on your back and look straight up because no binoculars are needed.You might want to bring a blanket and some hot chocolate because baby, it's cold outside! Enjoy the show!

More About the Geminids
Most meteor showers come from comets, which spew ample meteoroids for a night of "shooting stars. The Geminid meteor shower is different. The parent is not a comet, but a weird rocky object named 3200 Phaethon that sheds very little dusty debris -- not nearly enough to explain the Geminids.

"The Geminids are my favorite because they defy explanation," said Bill Cooke, lead for NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office. "Of all the debris streams Earth passes through every year, the Geminids are by far the most massive. When we add up the amount of dust in the Geminid stream, it outweighs other streams by factors of 5 to 500."

Do You Have Photos of Geminid Meteors?
If you have some stellar  images of the Geminid meteor shower, please consider adding them to the Geminid Meteors group in Flickr. Who knows - your images may attract interest from the media and receive international exposure.


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Page Last Updated: April 14th, 2014
Page Editor: Brooke Boen