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Geminids Meteor Shower: 'Up All Night' Afternoon Chat Transcript
(Moderator Brooke): Welcome everyone! Thanks for joining the "Up All Night" chat. Please remember to stay on-topic. This is a moderated chat. Have fun and happy viewing! Here we go...

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Hello everyone! Looking forward to answering as many of your questions tonight as we can. And we hope you have clear skies!!

Danielle_Moser: Hello room!

jman_nunez: Will i be able to see this from northeast florida?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Yes! If your skies are clear, look straight up. You will already be able to see some, though your highest rate should be seen about 1am to 3am local time. Happy viewing!

mtdewcraze: I live in michigan wherer can i look?

Danielle_Moser: Find a place with dark skies and clear weather. Lay on your back and look up, letting the star and sky fill your field of view. Just look straight up. :-)

davemc: In what general direction and degrees above the horizon is the current view? Thanks...seen 2 or 3 already in the video feed.

Rhiannon_Blaauw: That's great! The video feed you see has a horizonal field of view of 28 degrees, The center of the field of view is right now 4 h20m, 78 deg N dec. (in Cepheus)

OnWithTheShow: It is cloudy here in Philadelphia, not to mention bright. What can we expect to see on the NASA webcam?

Danielle_Moser: You can expect to see some bright fireballs every now and then. The rate should pick up as the radiant gets higher in the sky.

longmvu: I am at quaketown pa usa where should i look and what time will it happen?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: You should look straight up, let your eyes get adjusted to the dark skies. You will see Geminids all night long, though the peak will be 1am to 3 am local time.

STEPHANMURR: Is it possible you can see them threw your window?

Danielle_Moser: Yes, it's possible, if you have the lights off inside. Though you have to be careful of light bouncing off the glass on your side of the window. I don't know how many times I've thought I've seen a meteor and it's only been a flash of light from a car, or the tv, etc. reflected back to me.

Savas: Do the meteors look like quick lights that fly byt the screen or are there like 10 at a time as shown as the picture on the homepage of the NASA website?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: You won't see 10 at a time on this live feed we have. I was looking for 10 minutes and saw 2. The picture on the homepage of NASA is a composite of many Geminids.

alamo: Saw 3 nice meteors in about 2 minutes on the Tower feed.

Danielle_Moser: Awesome! I'm very excited about that!

DonnaF: Is the camera we see online in slow motion?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Nope - regular time!

rebecca: Will you guys have a UStream set up so we can view it on here?

Danielle_Moser: The Ustream is set up and running right now. There should be a link to it from the main chat page.

Sherrie: Hello. I am in Tampa, FL. What is the best direction to look to see the most meteors: North, South, East or West?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: You should look straight up. The Geminid radiant is rising in the east, however you will see most meteors if you are not looking directly to the east.

higgskatie: When will we be able to see it well in Georgia?

Danielle_Moser: If you've got clear weather and dark skies - yes!

cmpittman: What are the noises on the livestream indicating?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: The pings, chirps, and whisles are from radio waves bouncing off the meteors!

Savas: Do the meteors look like quick lights that fly by the video screen or are they like the picture on the home page of NASA that show 10 to 15 at once?

Danielle_Moser: You'll see a quick flash of light.

doug: Could one of these hit earth?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: In theory, yes, though we have no recorded Geminid meteorite on Earth. It would be rare to see a Geminid large enough to land on earth. The lowest Geminid we have recorded is 35 km up, or 22 miles.

higgskatie: How often will we have the chance to see such a clear meteor shower?

Danielle_Moser: There are several meteor showers every year. The Geminids are thought to be one of the best though!

tlane76: Will the time frame for FL apply to Raleigh NC as well?

Danielle_Moser: Yes it will.

trennyrenny: I can't find the constellation Gemini, I'm in Cypress, TX which is NW of Houston.

Rhiannon_Blaauw: You actually can see Geminid meteors before you see the constellation Gemini. The constellation itself should be rising in the East/Northeast sky.

sedworthy: Hi all can i see the shower in the uk?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: You most definitely can! The Geminids can be seen almost all over the world - Antarctica unfortunately being the only area excluded.

watchtheskys: Has there been a log on the live feed if so how many meteor's have been spotted?

Danielle_Moser: No log on the live feed unfortunately. But we spotted 3 or 4 just waiting for the chat to start!

Laying_Dutchman: I saw a lot already but it's cloudy now so i'm inn for the chat. There is audio on the stream and it sounds like a air vent; may i ask what we should listen to in the stream?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: You should be listening for pings, chirps, and whistles that are radio waves bouncing off the meteors. We are so glad you saw some Geminids! :)

Eric: Any photography tips for photographing the meteor shower with a digital SLR?

Danielle_Moser: You'll need a longer exposure for sure, and a tripod to keep things steady. I'd go check out the meteor galleries at and notice the equipment and settings used to take those pictures.

(Moderator Brooke): Thanks for the great questions! Rhiannon and Danielle are working through a lot of good queries. Lots of people viewing tonight from around the world. Please be patient as they answer your questions.

nacho: Hi, I'm Mexican, Can we see the meteorite from Mexico City?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Absolutely! You can see them from anywhere except Antarctica.

hryan332: How long will this meteor shower last for?

Danielle_Moser: The Geminids last from Dec 7 to Dec 17, but the peak is the morning of the 14th. Meteor rates are a few tens per hour on days before and after the peak.

(Moderator Jason): We're working hard to get answers to your questions. Please be patient. This is a moderated chat. To ask your own question, please type your question in the yellow box at the bottom of the chat window and then click the 'Ask' button on the right side of the window.

Aussie-Bongo: Im in Australia and its 2pm here on Tuesday, what would be the best time to get a view of the meteors here...or will it be too late when it gets darker?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: It won't be too late if you go out tonight! 1am to 3am local time is still your best time to look (due to the positioning of the radiant), though you may not see them at the rates of tonight, you should still be able to see plenty.

Adrena: Hello, In the audio feed what dose a Meteor "sound" like?

Danielle_Moser: It'll sound like a chirp or a low whistle. Or, if you've seen Star Wars, you might hear a few sounds similar to what R2D2 would make. :-)

kzvxrpl: How come two meteors appeared to be travelling in opposite directions?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: They do not all travel in the same direction, however they all appear to be coming from the same point, which is the Geminid radiant. You also may be seeing a sporadic meteor (a meteor which is not associated with a specific shower), since there are still between 4 and 10 an hour of sporadics.

chillyb: Wow! seeing that very bright one on the feed about 5 mins ago was AMAZING.

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Fantastic! I'm excited you think so :)

CallineXoP: There are cloudy skies here ! Are there going to be an even amount of showers tomorrw ?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: The rate will be lower tomorrow night - but you should still go out and view! You should still see between 30 and 50 per hour.

sqfnyc: what are the optimal weather conditions for viewing a meteor shower? does elevation play a role?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Optimal weather conditions are beautiful clear skies. Elevation does play a role. When the Geminid radiant is at the zenith (straight up) is when you should visually see the most meteors. This is between 1am and 3 am.

chmbrln: On the video feed it says we can hear meteors passing by - i just saw a fairly bright one, but didn't hear anything except the background white noise and some minor tone, but no change when the meteor was there - is there something I'm missing? I know you can't actually hear them.

Danielle_Moser: The meteors you are seeing are, in most cases, not the ones you are hearing on the audio feed. So don't worry, you aren't missing anything.

Brandon_M: Ok this question is pretty dumb but : I live in Chicago, Illinois (South Side), and I need to know what direction should I be looking in to see the meteor shower?

Danielle_Moser: Not a dumb question at all. Just get away from the city lights if you can and look straight up.

Sherrie: Do you record the life feeds for scientific purposes?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Well, not this specific live feed that you are seeing. However the Meteoroid Environment Office does run All-Sky cameras to detect meteors in the cm-size-range for scientific purposes. If you go to you can see videos of some of the brighter meteors we recorded in the last couple weeks.

jackpe: Where is the video feed being recorded from?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: From Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama :)

jaydensapc: From California, what direction should I be looking right now?

Danielle_Moser: Just look straight up, letting the stars and sky fill your field of view.

chmbrln: Not a question, but i think you guys rock! pretty cool to get viewership of 10,000!

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Well thanks :) We love the amount of public interest in 'space rocks'!

blueyes6492: Can anyone see anything yet?

Danielle_Moser: We've seen several fireballs on the live stream already :-)

Buddhistish: I saw a couple of amazing, and huge, shooting stars last night during my drive home... just a couple miles South of Denver, CO...... are these part of the up-coming shower?

Danielle_Moser: They may very well be. The Geminids are known to produce some bright fireballs.

jackpe: What is the speed of the Meteors?

Danielle_Moser: The Geminids travel at 80,000 mph. That's about 60 times faster than the Concorde jet.

Mare7221: I hear the term "fireball" a lot. What are the criteria for fireballs or are they just the supre-bright meteors we see?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Yes - they are bright meteors. Specifically they are brighter than the planet Venus, which is -4.4 magnitude.

(Moderator Brooke): Everyone, a viewing tip. Open a new browser window, then view the Ustream view of the skies over Marshall Space Flight Center. The link is: Nice clear skies tonight!

PhilBuzz: Will a meteor's light be visible through clouds?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Likely not! Only the very very brightest, but it would be rare a Geminid would be seen through the clouds.

(Moderator Brooke): Thank you for the questions -- Danielle and Rhiannon are working to get them answered as quickly as possible. Thanks for your patience! Please stay on topic -- this is a moderated chat.

9128: Can you quote the countries that will be able to see the spectacle in South America PLEASE

Danielle_Moser: Countries in both the northern and southern hemispheres can see the Geminids. The Geminid radiant will be lower in the southern hemisphere, however, so if you are far south, i.e. in south america, you may want to look in the northern skies for the meteors. Rates in the south will be a bit diminished also, as compared to the north.

rcpzta: I Live in South Carolina and what direction should I be looking at??

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Look up! :) Let your eyes get adjusted to the dark and you should probably be seeing the most between 1 and 3 am local time, but you should already be able to see lots!

GWTune: Just signed up. Where do I find the live streaming audio/video of meteor shower?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: In a link in the above article.

Mare7221: What constellations can we see in the live feed?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Cepheus

trennyrenny: In houston our local weatherman said that they would begin @ 2 or 4 in the morning? do you think there could be some out there now?

Danielle_Moser: There are some out there now. The Geminid radiant rose around sunset, and we've been seeing meteors since 7 or 8 pm. The peak is in the early morning hours, like quoted by your local weather man.

PhilBuzz: I saw a significantly large one on the feed a couple minutes ago, why is this meteor so much brighter or larger than the others?

Danielle_Moser: The sizes of the particles vary. So does how far they penetrate into the atmosphere. This affects the brightness. Geometry also plays a role.

tere: Hi from Northern Ontario, Canada. Yeah! those bright ones were great. Thanks a lot for this great oportunity to see the meteor shower.Hopefully we can see them tomorrow night, for we have a snow storm right now. It's cold out there (-29C with the windchill).Hi to my crelatives near Mexico city. They are watching by the Pyramids of Teotihuacan, great site to view meteor showers. We saw the Perseids in Aug, the 12 or 13? at Mount Tremblant, Quebec. It was great. There were many people and experts from the Canadian space asociation.

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Hello to my fellow Canadian! I hope you can see them tomorrow night, too. Very cool you saw them from Mount Tremblant!

jazz: Will the meteors still be visible if its a little cloudy? I'm in Delaware.

Danielle_Moser: The clouds will definitely reduce the number of meteors you can see. You'll for sure miss most of the faints ones. Brighter Geminid fireballs can be seen through clouds.

mratin: Is Geminids a type of meteor?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: 'Geminids' are the name of a meteor shower. If the Earth passes through debris left by a comet or asteroid, all pieces of debris from that comet/asteroid are given the same name.

stephinwilmette: We saw one in Wilmette,Illinois, but the moon is still very bright!

Danielle_Moser: Great! The moon should set just after local midnight, so you should have darker skies after that.

xmxcx: A bit earlier in the night I saw a bright blinking light in a straight line across the video screen. I debunked this as an airplane. Was I right? Or is this possible for a meteor?

Danielle_Moser: I didn't see it, but that was very likely an airplane.

Ben123: Is this supposed to be happeneding all night? Im not staying up all night, I have school in 6 hours!

Danielle_Moser: Yes, all night. The peak is between 1 and 3 am, when the radiant is highest in the sky. But school is important, so don't stay up too late!

Indiana_Sky_Watcher: What direction is the web-cam at MSFC Huntsville "pointing?"

Rhiannon_Blaauw: The camera is pointed north at a 45 degree elevation. The north star (polaris) is just below the field of view. The four clear stars you see are from Cepheus, though it is hard to really identify constellations in this view.

alex: What area of the sky would be the best to focus on? a contalation reference would be cool.

Danielle_Moser: If you are in the northern hemisphere you don't really need to focus on any particular constellation, just the skies overhead. The radiant is in Gemini, but I don't recommend that you stare at it. Meteors will appear to radiate from Gemini.

Nocturne: I want to include a little foreground (trees or something) when trying to photograpg these things. Which direction is best in Michigan....? North? Thanks

Rhiannon_Blaauw: If you photograph it between 1 and 3 am, at its peak, any direction is best.

CoreyKing_HOU: Any chance one of these makes it to earth? If so, what would you find if it did not land in water?

Danielle_Moser: It is extremely unlikely. I don't know of any Geminid meteorite that's ever been found.

(Moderator Brooke): Thank you for the questions -- Danielle and Rhiannon are working to get them answered as quickly as possible. Thanks for your patience! Please stay on topic -- this is a moderated chat.

salar12: What does Geminid mean and u type fast are u a robot idk lol

Danielle_Moser: The Geminids are named for the constellation the meteors appear to radiate from -- Gemini, also known as the Twins.

asdrubaljosue: Can I see it from CAncun,mexico?

Danielle_Moser: Yes you can, if you have clear weather and dark skies.

Lina: Back again,i saw a big fireball here in Argentina...possible?

Danielle_Moser: Possible, yes.

Rodrigo: Does the name Geminids refer to the place of the sky where this is more visible?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Geminids refers to Gemini, the constellation from which the meteors appear to come from. :)

resipsaloquiter: Seriously though, what kind of camera are you using on the live stream?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: An image intensifier, or night-vision camera.

timvet4thid: I heard that this shower has caused problems in the past and even knocked out a satilight, My question is what is the biggest meteor size with this shower?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: As far as we know, no Geminid has knocked out a satellite (though we know of Perseids, another meteor shower, that have hit satellites). The size of particles you are seeing with your naked eye are mm to cm sized, or sand grains to pebbles.

watchtheskys: i been waiting all night here in the UK finally the clouds have cleared up but will i still be able to see them with it bein nearly 5am.

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Yes! Keep trying. If you don't see any tonight, try tomorrow night. There will still be Geminid meteors to be seen.

Itscoldout: Can there be periods where we dont see anything?

Danielle_Moser: Yes. Most of the time you won't see much of anything, unfortunately. As we get closer to the time the radiant transits, between 1 and 3 am, we should be seing more and more meteors.

Starwatcher_Alisha: I saw one the other morning, Friday the 10th, was it part of this shower?

Danielle_Moser: It's possible it was, but impossible to tell for sure.

Hobbs: Odds of any meteors big enough to reach the ground? Should I put my hockey helmet on?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: :) The chance of a Geminid reaching the ground is slim to none, the lowest recorded Geminid is 22 miles up. However there have been many cases of meteors reaching the ground, though the chances of one hitting you directly on your head are again, slim to none. :)

betzabelt: I live about 20 mins from the city and its hard to see the stars where I live, but with something like a meteor shower, will i be able to view it even slightly?

Danielle_Moser: The city lights will definitely wash out the fainter meteors. You'll only be able to see bright Geminids.

mesh: What are the Geminids made of?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Ice and dust and some organic chemicals. Geminids have a higher density than other showers, so there is probably more dust/rock than ice.

Stars2010: Can you see it in Tennessee?

Danielle_Moser: Sure thing! If you've got clear weather and dark skies.

goosie: Can meteortites be different colors?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: If you see meteors of different colors, it is likely how your eye perceives colors. People have given reports on seeing orange, yellow, blue, green, etc, looking meteors.

rhanna: What percentage of the meteors are viewable to the naked eye? (assuming perfect viewing conditions)

Danielle_Moser: I can't give you percentages, but under perfect viewing conditions you'd expect to see 100-120 geminids per hour at the peak of the shower. Realistically, you will probably only see 50-80 meteors per hour.

aldofriki: Hi, I'm from Chile..I've seen some of them (absolutely amazing) tonight at my city, but is it probable to see a higher number of them? What time app.?? Thanks in advance!!!

Rhiannon_Blaauw: So glad you've been seeing some! :) You will likely see the highest rates between 1am and 3am local time.

Bluejinx: This live feed is so much better than sitting outside in 20F weather. Please pass along our thanks to NASA!!

Danielle_Moser: Will do! :-)

lindakay75090: Is that 1 and 3 am Eastern time or Central?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Local time.

erwinsan: Which is the best poin in the earth to look the meteors?emisphere north or south.

Danielle_Moser: It's better in the northern hemisphere, but you can see it from the northern AND southern hemispheres. This excludes Antarctica, however.

JRTaylor84: How does the radar system pick up those incredibly small particles when they are 20 miles or more from the ground?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: The radar system actually picks up the ionization caused from the particle, which spreads out to be considerably larger than the particle itself. A cm-sized particle can create an ionization trail as wide as a battleship!

stun002: I am in California and the moon is still up. when will it set and will i still see the meteors then?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: The moon will be setting just after midnight!

guest123: I keep seeing conflicting info online --some websites say 2am is the peak, others say 6am. when is the best time? it's too cold outside to be out there for hours. thanks.

Rhiannon_Blaauw: 6 am is the peak flux, however 2am local time is the peak RATE, which is when you will see the most meteors yourself. This is due to the position of the Geminid radiant.

Grumbaum: From venezuela.. Can i see?

Danielle_Moser: If you can see the constellation Gemini you can see Geminids.

jamesjj: Hey i was wondering which way to look? I live in NC the south.

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Look straight up!

goosie: I've seen some in Chicago! God created an amazing, intricate atmosphere!

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Hi Goosie, glad you have been able to seen some!

chillyb: Signing off to watch from outside. TY Rhiannon, Danielle, Brooke and Jason. You guys are doing a great service here. Merry Xmas from Fla.

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Thanks so much :) Merry Christmas to you, too!

aliriovelasco: When is it going to happen again?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: The Geminids will be seen next year at this time. But there are many other fantastic showers to be seen! The Quadrantids are in January, and the Perseids in August, for example.

chatou: Are you talking about the zodiac sign gemini. sorry i am a novice

Danielle_Moser: Gemini is a constellation of stars in the sky. It is also a zodiac constellation.

DemaGorekun: Can i see it from Regina Saskachewan CA?

Danielle_Moser: Yep! If you've got clear weather and dark skies!

Karen_Lustrup: So is this camera poiting slanted up or totally up?

Danielle_Moser: It's pointed north at an elevation of 45 degrees.

(Moderator Brooke): Everyone, a viewing tip. Open a new browser window, then view the Ustream view of the skies over Marshall Space Flight Center. The link is: Nice clear skies tonight!

resipsaloquiter: What is the difference between rate and flux?

Danielle_Moser: The rate is the number of meteors per hour. The flux is the number of meteors per hour per unit of area.

skywatch: Was that a plane that passed by a few min ago on the live camera stream?

Danielle_Moser: I didn't see it (I was answering questions!) but it was very likely an airplane.

Lisa: The article on this page references the meteor shower has gone from a weak to a major display over the course of a century. Why is that? And, will it continue to be more active as the decades go by? Thank you.

Rhiannon_Blaauw: This is such an interesting part of the Geminids. This is likely because the heart of the Geminid stream is coming closer to us, and we really do not known if it will continue to increase, or decrease. There are theories that Jupiter will pull the stream away from us and the Geminids will decrease in the next 100 years, but that is just one theory.

JRTaylor84: Wow, thats incredible... thanks for answering my question :)

Rhiannon_Blaauw: You are welcome - we are having fun and enjoying the interest in this!

kzvxrpl: If the Geminids are from a 'decaying' comet, approximately how many more years will they be seen?

Danielle_Moser: Some researchers think that the Geminids will only be around another 100 years or so, since the planet Jupiter is affecting the Geminid stream and moving it farther from Earth.

Blake: Does the radar pick up meteors smaller than we can see, or only ones large enough that we would see?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Meteor radars typically see particles smaller than those seen on camera. The meteors seen on camera are in the cm-size-range, whereas meteor radars will see particles mm-sized and smaller.

Dianna13: I hear a sound like if a train is slowing down, what is this?

Danielle_Moser: If you are listening to the live audio feed, that may be the ionization trail from a meteor reflecting radio signals to the detector.

Indiana_Sky_Watcher: I understand why Antarctica would be excluded from this meteor shower, but I DO NOT understand why Antarctica is one of the best places on earth to find meteorites (just not any Geminids! - LOL). Can you explain briefly? Does it have to do with the earths magnetic field?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Mostly it is because the Antarctic is a big sheet of snow/ice, and so meteorites that land there will just sit there until someone comes to pick them up. If they were to fall in a forest or a lake in north america, we would have less chance of picking them up and identifying them as meteorites.

Starwatcher_Alisha: The large Geminid that streaked the sky at 11:58 was awsome, largst one I've seen tonight!

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Very cool :)

Tassiedevil: You'd think with all the billions of particles there must be whizzing past earth, that we'd see shower like activity on any night....why don't we?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: We do see meteors everynight! They are called 'sporadic meteors', and are not associated with a particular shower stream. On any given night you can see between 4 and 10 per hour.

mkd129: What time will there be the most meteors? I know we can see it between 11-5 but what is the best time to catch the most?

Danielle_Moser: Definitely look between 1 and 3 am, when the radiant is highest in the sky. You can also look close to sunrise in North America as the rates will increase then, too.

kami0052: Hi im in Southern California...I've been standing outside for awhile and haven't seen any meteors. The only thing that am able to see is the lights of airplanes :(( Any tips to see them? and do i need to use telescopes or binoculars ?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Just keep trying! Perhaps the light pollution is poor where you are? There is a greater chance of you seeing the meteors between 1 and 3 am. It is worth it! :)

seakelpnow: How close are they to earth?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Geminids burn up about 75 km (47 miles) up! The lowest Geminid has been recorded 22 miles up.

HYDERPAK: I know meteors generally burn up in the atmosphere. But will any of the Geminid meteors make it to Earth?

Danielle_Moser: It is VERY unlikely. If any shower was to produce a meteorite, however, I would expect the Geminids since the particles have a higher density than those in other showers. No Geminid meteorite has ever been found, to my knowledge.

cassiopeia: I can't see any stars here in Southern Ontario.

Rhiannon_Blaauw: That is disappointing! If you can't see stars, it is unlikely you will see a meteor. But you can still hopefully catch some on the live-feed!

Virat_Patel: I just saw some! I am as excited as the "double rainbow" guy on youtube!

Rhiannon_Blaauw: :)

cowboy: At what speed do the meteors enter the earth and at what temp. must they burn at to create the stream effect?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: These Geminids are entering the atmosphere at 80,000 mph - fast enough to go from New York to Los Angeles in 2 minutes! Regarding the temperature, the meteors are between 2,000 and 6,000 degrees Kelvin. HOT.

F_Fonseca: Can we hear something when an meteorite enter to the atmosphere? Greetings from Veracruz Mexico!

Danielle_Moser: When you're out observing meteors you won't usually hear any audible sounds. Some hissing sounds and sonic booms have been reported for VERY bright meteors (esp Leonids). The sounds are thought to be due to very low frequency radio waves interacting with the local environment.

karen: I want to know if this wonderful phenomenum is going to happen in mexico :D

Danielle_Moser: Yep! :-)

Red.head: How big does a meteor have to be to actually hit the ground?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: There are many variables that affect this, such as the density, the speed, and the angle at which it enters the atmosphere, so it is difficult to say. The cm-sized objects that we are seeing (Geminids) are not big enough to reach the ground.

guest: Hi everyone, I'm singing in from Arizona and we were told to look Northwest. We haven't seen a thing:( Is it over?

Danielle_Moser: It's not over. The radiant is highest between 1 and 3 am local time. North America is also well placed to observe a peak predicted for just before dawn.

Ethan: Is there any way you can predict where a meteor will appear in the sky?

Danielle_Moser: Unfortunately not. Else I'd know exactly where to point my camera!

jj: Whats the best spot to see the shower?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Anywhere in the world other than Antarctica!

Bluejinx: Is the snapping sound on the audio feed a meteor?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Likely yes! You are hearing radio waves bouncing off a meteor.

jman_nunez: This was my first time seeing meteors and it was enchanting! they look like flying stars but with a lttle more to it. That was amazing thank you for being here :) yall must see these meteors allot though....luckey.

Danielle_Moser: I'm so happy you were able to view the Geminids! No matter how many times I see a meteor I'm still amazed and excited when I see another. :-)

heyalmo: The camera that is capturing the stream on Ustream is located where?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Located at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama!

Xphysics_Omega: What is the velocity of a Geminid meteor?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: 80,000 miles per hour! Over 1000 times faster than a cheetah :)

ara_starkey: What's about Mexico??? I still waiting for a star or meteor. We can see the stars anywhere (in Mexico)?

Danielle_Moser: People in Mexico can see the Geminids if the sky is dark and the weather is clear. Don't keep going in and out of doors. Your eyes need to adapt to the dark , and that can take about 45 minutes.

Ethan: How do you find the height of the meteors to the earth?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: All-sky cameras and radars can tell us how high up the Geminids are.

RPFBMETEOR: Why are some meteors green and others white?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Mostly this is determined by how your eye perceives color. Some people claim to see orange, green, blue, white, yellow meteors.

chris346: What is the cause of these meteor shower during this week??

Danielle_Moser: A meteor shower is produced when the Earth travels through a stream of meteoroids (rocks, dust) ejected from a comet or, in the case of the Geminids, the asteroid 3200 Phaethon. The meteoroids enter the atmosphere and ablate, or burn up, causing a streak of light we see as a meteor.

Nebula: Do any meteors hit the earth?

Danielle_Moser: Some meteors hit the earth -- these are called meteorites. It is unlikely that any of the Geminids will make it to the ground, however. Most meteoroids burn up completely in Earth's atmosphere. (That's great protection for us here on the ground, if you think about it!)

erica: I'm curious about the origins of the Geminds. The Geminids are debris from 3200 Phaethon, an extinct comet, but I've read that the debris seems to originate from a radiant in the Gemini constellation (based on the viewer's point of view) and giving these meteor's their name. I'm curious why the meteors can be seen all over the night sky while at the same time originating from 3200 Phaethon.

Rhiannon_Blaauw: If you can picture yourself standing miles away from a mountain pass, which has roads diverging out of it in all different directions, but are all coming from the same point, that is kind of the idea of how meteors can be seen all over the sky while all coming from the same point.

shubox03: Do the showers put the ISS in danger?

Danielle_Moser: There is a slightly higher risk to spacecraft in orbit during a meteor shower like the Geminids. The ISS is heavily armored against orbital debris (and meteors) though.

UncleBrian: What should I be listening for on the live stream?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: The chirps, pings and whistles you hear are likely meteors. The meteors ionize the air around them as they burn up and these ionized air molecules reflect radio waves back to the radio. As the metoer moves, the frequency changes, which accounts for the various sounds.

chatou: Is this will still happen till the end of the month?

Danielle_Moser: The Geminids technically continue through December 17th, but the rates will be VERY low by that time. The morning of Dec 14, and a day or two before and after, are your best chance for seeing Geminids.

Virat_Patel: The camera is off air! please fix it!

Danielle_Moser: It should be back up now.

Alien: I will be photographing the Geminid meteors tonight around 1am in Daytona Beach, Florida. Where can I submit these photos to?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: If you want to send them to Janet Anderson (, including your contact information, than we may put them up on facebook, etc, and then we will have a way of giving you credit for the image.

YonathanMedina: I can't see any meteors! :'(

Danielle_Moser: Is it cloudy? Is the moon still up? Have you been going outside an inside and back again? This might be hindering your ability to see meteors. The peak is still slated to be between 1 am and 3 am local time, this is when the radiant is highest in the sky. If you are in north america, you may also see meteor rates increase close to dawn.

amy: Has any meteors been spotted so far ?

Danielle_Moser: Yep! We've seen several on the Ustream feed already.

pedro: Well i know that the moon looks splendid and the stars but which is the better place to admire the phenomenon.

Rhiannon_Blaauw: The best place is all around the world, just looking up! The moon should set for you after midnight which will allow the sky to darken and viewing will be slightly darker.

bb: Which direction is your camera pointed?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Pointed north at a 45 degree elevation. Polaris is just below the field of view.

SpectreFTL: What are these meteors comprised of?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Ice and dust and some organic chemicals.

Lisa: That was a great explanation, Rhiannon_Blaauw of how we can see these meteors. Thank you.

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Well thank you, Lisa, for being interested! :)

(Moderator Brooke): Everyone, a viewing tip. Open a new browser window, then view the Ustream view of the skies over Marshall Space Flight Center. The link is: Nice clear skies tonight, and fireballs have been spotted!

Rejinx: Is Phaethon a Near Earth asteroid? How large is it?

Danielle_Moser: Yes it is. The diameter of Phaethon is about 5 km (3 miles).

dave: I just saw a nice one here in southern Cali...How close does the orbit Geminid come to earth?

Danielle_Moser: The orbit of the Geminid stream intersects that of Earth - that's why we see them as a meteor shower.

DarkuriA: Why meteors shine? they look like fire balls.

Rhiannon_Blaauw: What you are seeing is the particle ionizing, or ablating, meaning the electrons are popping off the atoms. Not the particle itself.

characo: In Los Angeles area are we able to see the meteorite shower tonight.

Danielle_Moser: If it's clear weather you can get away from the city lights of LA - yes!

RosalineAng: This may sound silly, but my friend wants to know if the geminids happen every year.

Rhiannon_Blaauw: There are no silly questions. Yes the Geminids happen every year. :) They occur when the Earth passes through the debris left by 3200 Phaethon.

YANFRET: Are the meteors visible in the entire sky or in a particular area at this time? (From Colombia South America) :) Thank you!

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Look over the entire sky!

luzmaria: I was out for about an hour and saw 21 fly by.

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Fantastic! I'm jealous!

gui_umoitodois: I've seen a big and flashing point flying trought the screen, was that an airplane or a satellite?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: If you can notice it flashing, it is likely an airplane.

CallineXoP: I can't take a picture of them with a digimal camera X( What camera would I need to use?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: A camera that you can do a long exposure with. A 5-10 minute exposure would be best.

yoshi: What time you can see in all its splendor this amazing phenomenon?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Right now! Though the peak is between 1 and 3 am local time.

Alfonso_Sierra: What kind of camera is needed? or what kind or brand of telescope?

Danielle_Moser: To see the Geminids you don't need a camera or a telescope. It's better to view the them with your eyes. If you are interested in astrophotography, I'd suggest looking at the meteor galleries on, taking note of the equipment others have had success with.

SpectreFTL: What is the average size of these meteors?

Danielle_Moser: Meteoroids have sizes between that of a grain of sand and a pebble. A meteor trail can be miles long.

ShinyAbsol: Why do we call them "Asteroids" and "Meteors"?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Asteroid means 'star-like', and was named so in 1802 by Sir William Herschel to describe their star-like appearance. 'Meteor' comes from the Greek 'meteoros' and it means 'high in the air.


Danielle_Moser: I don't know if anyone on ISS is observing the Geminids this year, but they have in years past.

qwerty: Do you believe them to be visible from the Chicago area even with all of the light pollution? Because so far I havn't seen any.

Rhiannon_Blaauw: It would be best to get away from the city lights, but there is a chance that you could see the very brightest meteors in the city, still.

gregkall: Is there any certain direction (North,east,south,west) shpuld be looking in to see geminid meteors?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: The best direction is just to look straight up. If you are veeery south (like the southern tip of south america) than you could look slightly north of straight up.

JoanH: How much of the sky are we seeing in your broadcast?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: The field of view of the ustream camera is 28 degrees along the horizonal.

orion8484: Why is the amount coming of the meteor so mysterious?

Danielle_Moser: I'm not sure what you are referring to, but there is a great deal that is not understood about the Geminids. For one, the parent body, 3200 Phaethon is mysterious. It's not known if it's an asteroid, an extinct comet, or a rock comet. For another, the size of Phaethon is rather on the small side, only 3 miles across. The dust it has been observed to produce can't account for the large amount of dust we see on Earth during the Geminids.

rocker: What you mean fire balls? are they bigger than the others? or the same?

Danielle_Moser: A fireball is a bright meteor, typically brighter than the planet Venus (mag -4)

Alfonso_Sierra: I'm studyng biology,but im thinking if a change of profesion , can i mix both?

Danielle_Moser: Look into astrobiology, perhaps? :-)

sweetpeamimi: How many meteors can you expect to see during the peak?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Between 100 and 120 meteors per hour in very very ideal conditions. More realistically between 50 and 80 per hour.

Lisa: I saw one! I saw one! about 5 minutes ago looking more northwest. (& I may have seen two others out of the corner of my eye). My face is frozen but I saw one! Very cool!

Danielle_Moser: Great! I'm so excited for you!

hellothere: Hello i have a question, can we see meteor shower from anywhere? i'm in Long Beach, CA.

Danielle_Moser: If you have clear weather and dark skies in Long Beach, you should be able to see the Geminids between 1 and 3 am, when the radiant is highest in the sky.

bcsmit: How far from the ground are the meteors as they ablate?

Danielle_Moser: Geminids usually ablate about 75 km (47 miles) above the ground. The lowest recorded height is around 35 km (22 miles) up.

Kchladek: Is the crew on the ISS safe from the shower?

Danielle_Moser: There is a slightly increased risk to spacecraft during the Geminids. The ISS is heavily armored though.

eaglerockCA: Is there much dissention about the nature of 3200 Phaethon? Is it officially an extinct comet, or an asteroid? I see both schools of thought represented by the different moderators.

Rhiannon_Blaauw: There are various viewpoints on the nature of Phaethon, you are correct. And no conclusions have yet been drawn! In 2009 the NASA spacecraft STERO-A observed Phaethon to brighten by a factor of two, quite unexpectedly. This is likely due to a release of dust from the object, causing people to call it a rock-comet.

matts: brb im going outside for a while to see some. wish me luck!

Danielle_Moser: Good luck! Make sure you give your eyes time to adjust to the dark!

kzvxrpl: Before I leave, I just wish to say thank you Danielle and Rhiannon for your time on this chat, I have learnt a lot. It's midnight here and I'm going out soon to find some dark sky. Cheers!

Danielle_Moser: You are very welcome. Happy observing!

ROCKNWIZ: Will the crew on iss have a spectacular view of the shower and be able to film it.

Rhiannon_Blaauw: The crew on the ISS is above the meteor shower - they orbit at about 250 miles up! So if they were to see it, they would look down instead of up. :)

spipa: I've been watching the live broadcast. What type of telescope is being used?

Danielle_Moser: The live broadcast is from an image intensifier (or night vision camera). No telescope is being used.

Joshua: I'm looking North-East and I've seen a few so far with clear skies from Michigan, am I even looking in the right spot? Is there a general area I should be focusing on?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: That's great! If you look straight up between 1 and 3 am you will hopefully see the highest rates.


Danielle_Moser: A geminid is a meteor from the asteroid 3200 Phaethon. Sizes of the meteoroids range from grains of sand to pebbles. The composition is rocky.

qwerty: So why is it we can only see them for a split second? Are they just barely touching the outer edges of our atmosphere?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: The meteors are moving so fast that they ablate very quickly! We only see them for a split second because they are entirely ablated (burned up) within a split second, and the particle no longer remains.

matts: How can we see them if they are so small?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: We are actually seeing the ionization trail left by the meteor. A meteor the size of a mm or cm (which Geminids are), can leave ionization as wide as a battleship (due to it spreading out so quickly)

Laura: Can you tell me what is the movement that I am viewing as I look at the ustream? Is that energy or light or what?

Danielle_Moser: I'm not sure what you are looking at. If you are talking about the movement of the point-like bright objects that are stars -- this is the stars 'twinkling' due to Earth's atmosphere.

Alfonso_Sierra: Do you like a coffe for this night? haha

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Are you offering to bring me coffee? Well thank you, Alfonso. Danielle and I do have two very kind ladies with us (Brooke and Janet) who have brought us drinks and snacks for the night :)

rampartbase: I think i'm in a bad spot to watch i dont know the best place to be.

Danielle_Moser: The Geminids are visible to those in both hemispheres -- North and South. If you are in Antarctica, however, you are out of luck.

bdurham: Is watching it on ustream about the same results as watching it from outside? So if they get to be pretty heavy on ustream would i be able to go outside and see the same amount?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: You will hopefully see more meteors with your naked eye than you can see on ustream due to the video quality. But yes, when you start to see more on ustream (between 1 and 3 am), this means you will see more outside.

ROCKNWIZ: Ive never heard of geminids till tonite can you please briefly explain what they are thank you.

Danielle_Moser: The Geminids are a meteor shower. Meteor showers occur when the Earth travels through a stream of meteoroids (dust particles, rocks) in space. The meteoroids enter the Earth's atmosphere and ablate, or burn up, causing a brilliant streak of light across the sky called a meteor.

orion8484: Danielle moser? are you by any chance the one i see on tv all the time. if you dont mind me asking.

Danielle_Moser: Nope, sorry! I guess it's a common name!

dianuks: Why is the night vision caera better than a telescope? why do u use it over the the telescope..

Rhiannon_Blaauw: To observe meteor showers you want the largest field of view possible. If you look through a telescope you are only looking at a very small part of the sky, so the chance that a meteor will go through that part of the sky is a lot less.

obi: so cold to stay outside for a perfect view of the geminids.

Danielle_Moser: The Geminids are often considered to be one of the best meteor showers of the year. Unfortunately, due to cold temperatures and cloudy weather in December, they aren't as well known as showers like the Perseids.

Jobi: Good evening to all, I´m in Mexico and I want to see live camera.

Danielle_Moser: The live camera feed is at

YANFRET: We have the added luxury in Colombia of it not being cold tonight for watching! :)

Danielle_Moser: You are very lucky! :-)

salo: Do they totally desintegrate or some of the rocks actually reaches the earth's surface??

Rhiannon_Blaauw: The Geminids are not massive enough to reach the earths surface, they will completely disintegrate. There are, however, many known meteors that have reached the earth's surface. And some of them have been picked up by people! It is great when this happens because the composition can then be studied in a lab.

mrsnow: How far away is the asteroid and why do we see the meteor but not the asteroid?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: We see the meteors because they burn up in the atmosphere and make a show for us.

HYDERPAK: Is it cool being a meteor specialist.

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Oh yea :) Especially on weeks when we get to answer questions from people like you. This is fun!

Lisa: Ms. Moser, re: "For another, the size of Phaethon is rather on the small side, only 3 miles across. The dust it has been observed to produce can't account for the large amount of dust we see on Earth during the Geminids." Then where do you think the rest of the debris/dust comes from? Any ideas? Or, perhaps, did 3200 Phaethon release a huge amount of dust at one point long ago & we're just now seeing the results?

Danielle_Moser: I really don't know, it's a big mystery to scientists. That theory is possible.

Alpha_Tauri: How do we know which meteors are Geminids and which ones are sporadics?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: The direction in which they come from. If the meteor appears to be coming from the Geminid radiant, we say it is a Geminid meteor, if the meteor is randomly oriented, it is a sporadic meteor. We have all-sky cameras here that can calculate the exact directions from which they come from, so we can more accurately determine if it is a Geminid meteor.

eaglerockCA: How does an annual event such as this "begin"? If there was no record of the shower before the late 19th century, does that mean 3200 Phaethon was not in Earth's orbital path until that time?

Danielle_Moser: The orbit of Phaethon and the Geminid stream has been affected by Jupiter during its history. This changes the location of the stream and its distance from Earth.

DaraghH: How fast is geminid travelling, before it enters our atmosphere?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: 80,000 miles per hour! 1000 times faster than a cheetah, and fast enough to travel from New York to Los Angeles in about 2 minutes.

Gm: I can hear the big ones burn in the atmosphere. How close do you think they reach?

Danielle_Moser: Most Geminids burn up at an altitude of about 75 km (47 miles) up.

Stars2010: This is so exciting I got to see 25 of them just now!

Rhiannon_Blaauw: That is so fantastic! :)

ZadKieL: I live on aguascalientes, aguascalientes, mexico, Is it possible that I can see the meteor shower?

Danielle_Moser: Yes, if you have clear weather and dark skies!

YANFRET: It's really brilliant to have the ustream live cam we really appriciate that! :)

Danielle_Moser: I'm glad you can enjoy it!

(Moderator Brooke): Hi everyone -- some viewing tips. You can start to observe the Geminids around 7 pm local time. Go out to an area where there is as little light pollution as possible, and give your eyes some time to adjust. It often takes 45 minutes for your eyes to fully adjust to the dark. If your area has poor weather, there isn't much use in trying to see Geminids live, but you can view our stream at: Most of the world is positioned for a great view of the Geminids. Only if you live below 50 degrees (South) latitude are you unable to see the Geminids, which rules out antarctica (unfortunately). For those that live around the equator or in the northern hemisphere, the best time to see the Geminids is between 1am and 2 am local time, though you should be able to see plenty all night long. After you have given your eyes time to adjust to the dark, just look straight up, be patient, and then enjoy. If you live closer to antarctica, the best time to look is still between 1am and 2 am local time, though look slightly to the north of straight above, and your rates may be slightly lower than those in the northern hemisphere.

amy: if it's snowing outside, does it mean I can't see any meteors tonight?

Danielle_Moser: If it's cloudy, probably not, sorry. :-(

luzmaria: Is the USTREAM camera pointing straight up into the sky or at an angle?

Danielle_Moser: The camera is pointing up at an angle.

Kobkul: I live in San Fran. Would i be able to see them?

Danielle_Moser: If you have clear weather and dark skies, yes!

inter: Whats the difference between meteor and asteroid? And What's NASA's take on the avoidance of any catastrophies from either in the future?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: This is not very defined. Mostly it is a size-differentiation. Smaller particles are known as meteors, larger particles as asteroids.

(Moderator Brooke): An exciting update from Danielle and Rhiannon -- on the live Web feed, we've recorded 69 events so far tonight in the skies over the Marshall Center -- and this data will be used by the Meteoroid Environment Office.

aqwer23: Is meteors and shooting stars the same thing?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Yup :) Same thing. So start makin' wishes!

hellothere: Can we see some of the showers before 1am?

Danielle_Moser: Yes. The Geminid radiant has actually been up for several hours now (at least in North America). We've seen multiple meteors (69+) here in the skies over Huntsville, Alabama, USA.

ara_starkey: What's the average speed for the Geminids?? and why some look so slow?

Rhiannon_Blaauw(A) The average speed is 80,000 miles per hour. FAST! Some may look slower because the ionization trail may linger for a couple seconds.

rockerprince_sakurano18: In what constellation was the geminids belong?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: The Geminids do not 'belong' in a specific constellation, but they appear to come from the constellation Gemini, which is where they get there name.

nessamadrid19: How many meteors should we expect to see tonight?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Under very very ideal conditions we can see between 100 and 120, but more realistically you can see between 50 and 80 meteors per hour.

dianuks: What is the diference between the geminids and the perseids?

Danielle_Moser: Some basic differences: The Geminids occur in December and are associated with the asteroid 3200 Phaethon. The Perseids occur in August and are associated with the comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle.

KEvin: Where do the meteors come from?

Danielle_Moser: Meteor showers occur when the Earth travels through a stream of meteoroids (dust particles, rocks) in space. The meteoroids enter the Earth's atmosphere and ablate, or burn up, causing a brilliant streak of light across the sky called a meteor. The Geminid meteors come from the object 3200 Phaethon.

robcubs84: Which area of the sky can the shower be seen?

Danielle_Moser: Are you in the northern hemisphere? The meteors can be seen all over the sky. They'll appear to come from the constellation Gemini.

toxicity_27: What can we learn from this meteor shower?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Excellent question, we study meteor showers for various reasons, both practical and theoretical. On the practical side, we need to study meteors and meteor showers because they prove a hazard to spacecraft and satellites, and on the theoretical side it gives us informattion about the parent body. Most parent bodies are comets, which have been around since the formation of the Solar System and contain pristine materials from that time, so studying them can give us information on the formation of the Solar System.

Laura: I asked this and lost my connection, so I am sorry if you already answered. When I look at the ustream, I see movement in the field. What is that movement? Is it energy? Light? What am I seeing? *(besides the sky and the stars and the meteor shower) Thank You.

Danielle_Moser: I'm really not sure what you are looking at. If you are talking about the movement of the point-like bright objects that are stars -- this is the stars 'twinkling' due to Earth's atmosphere.

RAQH: Are you seeing the meteor shower or you're just answering questions?

Danielle_Moser: I'm inside answering questions, but I'm also viewing the live USTREAM feed too.

cbrooks91671: Is that cassiopeia that is visible in the live camera view? about 10:30, about halfway to upper left corner?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Yes - in theory you can see Cassiopeia there, though it is very difficult. Good eyes :)

Lisa: Wow! 1:21am, just saw a huge/bright one on your Ustream! I've been outside (in FL) and saw one more before heading in. Yay! Will try again tom. night/morning when it's not so cold, good to know I can go out earlier, Brooke. Thks. 1:24am and saw 2 more on the live stream. Thanks for having that available. And thank you, Brooke, Danielle_Moser, Jason and Rhiannon_Blaauw for doing this chat. I think it's wonderful. :) Happy gazing, everyone! Good night.

Danielle_Moser: That's so great, Lisa! I'm excited for you, and jealous too! Have a good evening!

Kchladek: Unfortunatly i must be going but Thank you so much for all the great information i've learned alot!! Goodbye!

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Thanks for coming :)

robcubs84: Which angle is it pointed?

Danielle_Moser: The USTREAM camera is pointed north at a 45 degree elevation.

mb277: How large is a typical geminid meterorite?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: 'Meteorite' assumes it has landed on the ground, but these particles aren't large enough to do that. 'Meteor' is when it is in the atmosphere. These Geminid meteors are mm to cm sized.

JessicaAFM: I was not aware of sporadics but I went and looked it up. I am in the north part of FL. So if I saw a couple brighter streaks towards the southern horizon, is this more likely a sporadic rather than the geminids we saw looking straight up?

Danielle_Moser: It is very hard to say without having more than 1 observation of the same meteor from different locations. Triangulation would tell us for sure whether or not it was a geminid or a sporadic.

RAQH: So it's a good idea to look at gemini if we're looking for meteors?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Actually, no. If you look at Gemini you won't see as many. If you just look straight up you should see the most. :)

RPFBMETEOR: What is the difference between a meteor and a fire ball?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: A fireball is a large meteor. A meteor that is brighter than Venus (magnitude -4)

71blackbird: Just saw 6 in about twenty minutes. Than it got cloudy.

Danielle_Moser: Congratulations!

zinoualg: You say that the meteors come from comets, but I read that Phaethobut it's not a comet it's an asteroid?how?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Yes! The Geminids are unique in this way. Phaethon is indeed though by some to be an asteroid, or a 'dead comet'. There are various theories on Phaethon and it remains a bit of a mystery to us; it doesn't seem big or active enough to have created a shower such as the Geminids.

roflmfao: So is it true until 16th we'll still be able to see some meteors across the sky?

Danielle_Moser: The Geminids are typically active through Dec 17, but the rate will be GREATLY reduced by that time. The peak is the morning of the 14th. You may see rates of 10s of meteors per hour the next couple of days if you can't see anything during the peak.

condorsrule: Why do meteroids appear to have a tail? Do the tails always face one direction, or does the direction change? Its for homework haha!

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Meteors leave tails of ionization behind them. When the particle hits the atmosphere, it begins to burn, or ablate, and the atoms are ionized (electrons pop off the atoms). This is the bright white streak you see. The Geminid's trails do not always face one direction, but they all point to one point. (see image on main page regarding this chat for an illustration)

ahsszqb: What is the difference between meteor and meteoroid?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: A meteoroid is the particle in outer space. Once it hits the atmosphere and starts burning up, it is called a meteor. If it lands on the ground it is called a meteorite.

dormouse: Someone just mentioned Cassiopeia; are there any other constellations visible on the livestream?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: I was incorrect about cassiopeia there - apologies! The field of view is not large enough for us to see Cassiopeia at this point. The group of stars in the ustream is in Camelopardalis. I welcome you to look up the constallation and see if you can identify any stars. It may be difficult though!

SCM: Hi, I asked a question about 3/4 of an hour ago, do you have a long list to answer or did you ignore my question. Cheers.

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Apologies, we have received over 2000 thus far so it is impossible for us to answer every one. We are trying to answer as many as possible. :)

Nick: Can the meteor shower be seen during the day?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Not the Geminids. There have been, on very rare occasions, meteors bright enough to be seen during the day. These are called 'daytime fireballs' and I would absolutely LOVE to see one someday, but they are quite rare. :)

rockerprince_sakurano18: If some of the meteoroids don't burned up totally and it lands here on ground, will it can predict or theorize the birth of the solar system?

Danielle_Moser: If a meteor makes it to the ground to become a meteorite it can be studied in the laboratory. This gives us density and compositional information. The grains trapped inside offer hints about the early solar system. Check out this article

Dom: I'm in tuscaloosa, al and just went out and checked and was shocked how many I saw in such a short time. What is the latest info on the peak? If I'm only gonna watch for 30 minutes, what time should I brave the cold?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Great, Dom! Closest to 2 am local time would be the best for you to pick your 30 minutes in. Under ideal conditions you can see 100-120 meteors per hour, though more realistically you would see 50 to 80 meteors per hour. Happy viewing!

th3: Is there a sky map (like Google Sky, of Celestia, or Stellarium) that shows the dust trails and when the Earth will pass through them?

Danielle_Moser: Not that I know of. Those programs will, however, most likely show you the location of the Geminid radiant and its elevation from your location. Most meteors will be seen when the radiant reaches its maximum elevation.

annielizs: Can the astronauts on the ISS see the meteor shower?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Yup! Though they are orbiting at 250 miles up, and the meteors ablate on average at 47 miles up, so the astronauts on the ISS would look down to see the meteor shower instead of up. :)

Angela: Can someone help me... cuase we really want to see this amzing thing but we dont know the time.

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Right now! The visual peak is between 1 and 3 am local time. Go out to a place where there is the least amount of light pollution and let your eyes adjust to the dark. Happy Viewing!

Zachafer: Rhiannon: You said they'd have to "look down to see the meteor shower instead of up." Which way is down in space?

Rhiannon_Blaauw(A) Good question. Towards Earth. :)

Bk3rguate: Hi my question is: what is the best or the correct orientation to see the geminids? i'm in Guatemala city! Thanks

Danielle_Moser: All you need to do is get away from city lights and lay on your back and look up. Put the horizon at the very edge of your peripheral vision and let the sky and stars fill up your field of view.

Faith: How do you know where meteors come from? I know the come from asteroids, but how did they form?

Danielle_Moser: Using triangulation and some fancy math we can determine the orbit of a meteoroid. Geminid meteoroids have orbits similar to that of their parent body, 3200 Phaethon.

trebor: Someone speaks Spanish?

Danielle_Moser: Sorry, unfortunately I don't speak any Spanish. :-(

Zachafer: When will the next meteor shower be?

Danielle_Moser: The next meteor shower is the Quadrantids in early January.

Lyonel_Nichols: Well, thanks again, Danielle and Rhiannon! Time for me to call it a night. Will there be a posting of how many meteors the Germinids produced? And if any meteorites came from it? Obviously a total count would have to wait till Dec 17th...

Danielle_Moser: We'll probably have some video clips online at and possibly this geminid chat website (not sure about that). Numbers from just tonight may be tweeted by MeteorScientist. We've seen over 300 events at this point, but I'm not sure how many were meteors and how many were airplanes. If the Geminids produce a meteorite it will probably be in the news, but I must say that this is extremely unlikely.

jjosserand: What is local time - i'm mountain time please.

Danielle_Moser: Local time is the time at your location.

JAGM: I can barely recognize orion... but I would like to see the star rain... To what direction should I start searching from?

Danielle_Moser: If you are in the northern hemisphere, just look overhead. If you are in the southern hemisphere, you may want to look towards the northern skies.

hooda: Is the ISS affected by the particles that are making the "pew pews" in our atmosphere?

Danielle_Moser: It is not likely that the ISS will be hit.

yelyel: Will this meteor shower ever look as if it is raining like in the movies where theres constant streaks showing up on the sky?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: In the movies you usually see meteor storms, which is rates over 1,000 per hour. The Geminids are one of the biggest showers of the year with rates up to 120 meteors per hour.

kemshall: Hi, I'm in Australia will we be able to see the meteor shower?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Yup! Look straight up tonight. Between 1 and 3 am local time is when you will see the most meteors, but at any point throughout the night you should be able to see a good number.

flrockytop: Why do they seem to come in burst? About 11PM local we saw 5 in just about a min. Then it was like 5 min befor we saw they next one. The very brightest one was low in the Northeast sky.

Danielle_Moser: There is some clumping within the meteoroid stream that could cause that. Also if you get a meteoroid that fragments you can get several similar looking meteors within a short period of time.

SoCal_watcher: Oooh, just saw a bright one on the UStream feed...

Rhiannon_Blaauw: We've seen a couple bright ones on there recently too! So fun :)

qaza: Just joined so sorry if this has been asked... Any HD live feeds?

Danielle_Moser: Yep! See

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Absolutely! Any where around the world except for Antarctica.

crosbyfour: Are these particals falling to earth or justpassing outer atmosphere?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: They are actually burning up completely in the Earth's atmosphere.

Fish: Hello, I live in the cities where there is light pollution all over, is there any way I can catch a glimpse of it?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: On our live feed (link above) we are seeing some nice ones on there! This is a great year to view this shower -- lots of activity.

May5683: If you live in the city is it possible to see them at all?

Danielle_Moser: City lights will wash out a lot of the fainter meteors. But if there are any bright fireballs you might possibly see them.

Lyonel_Nichols: Will you have this list of questions and answers posted somewhere for later viewing?

Danielle_Moser: Yes, a transcript will posted on this page later this week.

ahsszqb: What is the meaning of radiant? is the location of rradiant the same as the parent body of meteoroid?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Radiant is where all meteors from a particular shower appear to come from. If you google 'meteor radiant' you will find good pictures to illustrate this.

rogsh: Can pilots see the meteor shower from the cockpits?

Danielle_Moser: Yes they can.

BEN: how can we 'hear' the meteorites on the cam at msfc? are they going to be audible?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: If you turn up the volume on the ufeed video stream you will hear pings, chirps, and whistles. This is from radio waves bouncing off the meteor.

1234: How often do meteors fall to the ground?

Danielle_Moser: I read somewhere that about 500 meteorites reach the ground each year, though only a small fraction of those are recoverd by people.

Harry: What if the ISS IS hit?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: It has a certain amount of protection for smaller particles. We try to detect any larger particles and request the ISS to move if we suspect the ISS is going to collide with it.

Toby: I live on the southern border of Idaho and Oregon where should i look?

Danielle_Moser: Just look straight up, letting the stars and sky fill your field of view.

DaraghH: Has the ISS ever been hit?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: It is hit frequently by dust-sized particles (there are holes found on the ISS all the time), but it has never been hit by a particle able to cause significant damage.

Dommi9877: What time is the best time tonight to watch the shower (with most meteors)?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Right now :) Or between 1 and 3 am local time.

caliche: Where is the camera located?

Danielle_Moser: The USTREAM camera is located at the Automated Lunar and Meteor Observatory (ALaMO) at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, USA.

Troy: What time would be best to see in california?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Look straight up at any point throughout the night. 1 am to 3 am local time is the visual peak.

Alfonso_Sierra: And do you will chat with us?...for Quadrantids:D i can help trebor...this is science¡¡¡ all can get it!

Danielle_Moser(A) I don't think we will do a live chat for the Quadrantids in January, sorry.

chilly: How can you tell if the sky is dark enough to see meteor shower? (sorry if you answered, got disconnected..)

Rhiannon_Blaauw: You can still see bright meteors even if the sky is not particular dark. To figure out if your eyes have been dark-adjusted, try to find all the stars in the small dipper. If you are able to identify most of them your eyes have fairly well adjusted to the dark.

bpuligan: What is the speed of these objects? the few that I saw seem to be moving very fast covering long distances across the sky?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: These meteors do cover several miles in the sky (up to tens of miles)! They hit the earth's atmosphere at about 80,000 miles per hour. FAST.

jjosserand: I'm watching the live broadcast but only seeing stars. what's up?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Be patient. :) Watch it for a few more minutes and you'll be sure to see a nice one soon!

Zachafer: I'm watching the live feed but haven't seen/heard anything for a while. Am I missing them? What will they sound/look like?

Danielle_Moser: We've seen several in the last few minutes. Look for bright, fast moving streaks of light. The audio stream will exhibit chirps and low sounding whistles (think R2D2 from Star Wars in some cases). A lot of meteor observing is patience and lots of coffee. :-)

mamma2be: any chance Las Vegas NV will be able to see some?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Absolutely! Get away from city lights and let your eyes adjust to the dark and look straight up. Happy viewing :)

hooda: I heard the Quadrantids meteor showers are the best, is this true?

Danielle_Moser: It's all a matter of opinion. Many think the Geminids are the best because they exhibit consistently high rates.

Dommi9877: Can you watch the video feed tomorrow?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: If you go to you should see some Geminid videos posted over the next few days.

hooda: Are the Quadrantids not as worthy to have a chat for?

Danielle_Moser: Not at all. They just peak too close to the New Years holiday to be adequately staffed.

jupiter62: What is the view from? space, earth or what, there is no description, Im looking at the Ustream thing?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: You are looking at an intensified camera located at the ALaMO (Automated Lunar and Meteor Observatory) at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama! The camera is pointed north, about 45 degrees elevation.

crosbyfour: What would be the size of these objects that are burning up tonight?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Millimeter to centimeter sized particles.

guardianwolf: Clouds finally moved out got to see 8 in about 15 mins.

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Fantastic! We've see a lot tonight, too!

Dommi9877: When will there be a meteor storm?

Danielle_Moser: The next meteor shower is the Quadrantids in January. The next meteor shower outburst (less meteors than a storm but more than a normal meteor shower) is the Draconids of 2011 which is expected to peak on October 8, 2011.

deathrunner: when will the shower begin?

Danielle_Moser: The shower is already being observed!

DELVALLE: we are in long beach ca..and just got very foggy...

Danielle_Moser: I feel for you. That's rotten luck!

stjernekigger: If the particles are so small, how are the streaks visible?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: What you are actually seeing is the ionization trail left by the particle. The atoms in the particle, when they hit the atmosphere, are ionized and that spreads out to be much larger. A Geminid could leave an ionization trail as wide as a battleship. :)

(Moderator Brooke): Greetings, all! Sorry some of you are having bad luck with the weather. You can enjoy our live feed ( showing the skies over Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Skies are clear, and there's been a lot of activity seen so far!

eaglerockCA: I have seen over 20, including a couple of fireballs, over the last half an hour. The seeing is pretty good, in spite of the light noise from the neighborhood. It hasn't even reached the peak yet.

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Fantastic! We've had a great show here tonight, too. We are now around the visual peak in Huntsville, Alabama and seeing quite a few!

robcubs84: Is there a chance that maybe there might be a objects bigger than some centimeters, burning up?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Geminids generally don't get larger than a few centimeters. However sporadic meteors (those not associated with a shower stream) can be considerably larger than this (though they are rare!)

BD: I've seem individual streams of light, which were pretty awesome. However, will there ever be a time where there is a flood of them?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Unfortunately you won't see more than 1 per minute, or so. But still... 1 per minute is pretty awesome... :)

hooda: What is the average size of the meteors that are making the pews in our atmosphere?

Danielle_Moser: These Geminids have sizes ranging from grains of sand to pebbles.

nicool: should I look to the north or to the south in the sky?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Straight up.

JessicaAFM: Thank you for the cat. Between the live feed and going out in the cold I have seens close to 50 over the last two hours. This has been a very fun and educational session. Hopefully there can be more live chats and feeds in the future. Again, than you to our host(ess)s

Rhiannon_Blaauw: So glad you have enjoyed this! We have had a great time tonight, too.

Tassiedevil: is the Quadrantids comparable to the Geminids?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: The Quadrantids are comparable to the Geminids. They are another nice shower. However they are in early January and often people are just getting back from Christmas break, and it is very cold, and often cloudy, so they unfortunately do not get much press.

fifistar: What makes the meteors have diffrent colors, the first meteor I've ever seen was blue, then Ive seen many : yellow green ...etc !!!

Danielle_Moser: The color is a hard thing to explain. It's due to atmospheric emission lines and emissions from the meteoroid material itself as it burns up in the atmosphere. Different atoms emit different colors.

Harry: Do you guys observe this yearly? What was the best Geminid shower you guys have personally seen over all the years?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: As Meteor Scientists, we do find this very exciting! The Leonid storms of '99 through '02 were best. This is one of the best seen since the Leonids.

Evnissyen: Are there any plans for more streams like this in the coming months for other astronomical events?

Danielle_Moser: Yes. Next week there will be a chat on the total lunar eclipse. Stay tuned to for more information.

jjosserand: Is that orion in the bottom left of the live feed?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Not orion. Those stars are in Cepheus.

Clio: About how much of the sky are we seeing on the Live Meteor shower cam?

Danielle_Moser: The horizontal field of view is about 28 degrees. The vertical field of view is probably about 21 degrees.

perla: In San Diego, will I be able to see the shower now? its currently 12 AM.

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Yup! Go outside and try to find a dark area without light pollution. Your peak will be 1am to 3am local time. :)

Dommi9877: Can I watch the live brodcast tomorrow?

Danielle_Moser: Yep! But the weather is expected to be cloudy here in Huntsville tomorrow night, unfortunately.

hellokitty: How can the same comet come every year?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: The comets do not have to come year after year, there is still debris left over from passings of the comet many years ago that the earth passes through.

DaraghH: Was that someones hand?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Yup :) That the guy out there making sure everything is working well... enjoying playing tricks on the viewers.

steph: Can I see the shower in Tucson, AZ now?

Danielle_Moser: If the weather is clear and the skies are dark, yes!!!

Clio: While watching the live cam, I smile every time I see a meteor but I can't help but feel small. Wish I could hear the ooohs and ahhhhs from fellow viewers! Thank you, moderators and good night from freezing cold Michigan. ;)

Rhiannon_Blaauw: I have been doing much 'ooo and ahhh'ing over here. Thanks for tuning in. Glad you enjoyed it!

boomboomboom: Do I have to look straight up to see them or can I look into the horizon?

Danielle_Moser: If you are in the northern hemisphere it's best to look straight up -- you see more sky that way, as opposed to looking at less sky on the horizon. If you are in the southern hemisphere you want to look in the northern skies.

Aziza: How do astronauts will see the event suposing they are on the ISS?

Danielle_Moser: Astronauts on ISS, being above the atmosphere, will look down on the Earth to see meteors.

abraham: hi, excuse my english, how do you calculate the number of meteors by hour? are they the same everywhere? i mean we all are watching the exactly same meteors everywhere?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: The same meteor can be seen up to 200 kilometer away due to how high they burn up in the atmosphere, but no, we are not all seeing the exact same meteors around the world. We take into account the limiting magnitude of the observer, and the elevation of the radiant, as well as other factors, into calculating the number of meteors per hour associate with each shower. The International Meteor Organization ( does work with this.

san3091: They are amazing!! Been out for an hour now in mexico city. How fast would you say the average meteor is going?

Danielle_Moser: Geminids typically travel at about 80,000 mph. This is approx 300 times faster than the Buggatti Veyron (one of the fastest road cars out there).

Skywatchgirl: Can I see from utah?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Yup! Get as far away from light pollution as possible, let your eyes adjust, and enjoy the show!

robcubs84: How often do we get the chance to see meteor showers?

Danielle_Moser: There are several meteor showers every year. Take a look at the meteor shower calendar at for dates.

Lee_Erickson: feed is running from the ISS..cant see much..

betzabelt: I keep reading the peak time will be at 6am est, but you guys say it was 1 to 3am local time, i'm confused! i'm in atlanta, georgia so is the peak for this shower over in the east?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: The local visual peak is from 1 to 3 am due to where the radiant is located. The Earth is passing through the densest part of the stream at 6am est, which means that north america is favored to see the meteors from the densest part of the stream as well.

rtphokie: Is 3am the anticipated peak of the meteor shower simply because Gemini is nearly overhead at that point?

Danielle_Moser: Yes, that's right. The Geminid radiant is at its highest point then. The earth will travel through the densest part of the Geminid stream a little later, peaking at 6 CST.

Tyler: Will there be any slow moning meteors?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Geminids generally all enter the Earth's atmosphere at 80,000 miles per hour. This means they could travel from New York to Los Angeles in 2 minutes!

starchild84: Are there projected years in which the geminids will be the most brilliant?

Danielle_Moser: This year is turning out to be GREAT!

throwedd: I'm in Houston Tx, I dont know which direction to look for the meteors. Can you help me?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Look straight up. Try to find an area with less light pollution, let your eyes adjust to the darkness, and enjoy the show! You will likely see the most meteors between 1 and 3 am local time. We are seeing some nice ones in Alabama here. :)

Pheliane: The visibility of this astronomical event is the same in France and in USA, or not ?

Danielle_Moser: As far as geometry goes, the Geminid radiant is at its highest point at the same approx local time in both places. North America is actually favored as far the Geminids go because the Earth moves through the densest part of the stream at 5 CST (6 EST) and it's still dark enough to see meteors at that time.

jskt: i'm sure this has been asked lots of times already, but any idea of what the rate will be tomorrow as compared to tonight? I'm in NJ and it is cloudy tonight.

Rhiannon_Blaauw: The rate should still be fairly good tomorrow night - perhaps between 30 and 50 meteors between 1 and 3 am local time. Give it a try for sure! I'm sorry your weather was poor tonight. Also if you go to you should see Geminid videos over the next few days.

Harry: When do the debris of the comet dissapate?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Over the next few days the rates will be considerably less. This doesn't mean the comet is dissappating, but that the Earth is moving away from the densest part of the stream. It will take many many years for the stream to truly dissapate.

sarakanne: What time will the shower peak in Houston, Texas?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: 1 to 3 am local time will be your visual peak.

mortimer: A while ago I saw a streak of light with a burning-like sound, is this the same phenomenon?

Danielle_Moser: Meteors don't typically create audible sounds. But hissing sounds have been reported for very bright meteors.

krushkoix: What's the big size of this dust particles, it's possible a earth impact?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: The largest Geminids are a few centimeters across. Not large enough to land on earth, unfortunately! They will be fully burned up in the atmosphere far before they reach earth. The lowest Geminid recorded was 22 miles up.

LESLIE: What time exactly can the meteor shower be seen from souther Arizona? More specifically the Tucson area.

Danielle_Moser: You need to be observing now! Rates should also be high as you approach sunrise.

Skywatchgirl: Where do i have to look to see them?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Straight up if you are in the northern hemisphere. Straight up and slightly to the north if you are in the southern hemisphere.

AFSOC_Fig: Do meteor showers have any known effect on the earth's atmosphere like the aurora borealis, other than the debri burning up?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: No known effect on aurora borealis.

mimzy(Q) How Often do meteor storms happen? what are the meteor shower names of 2011? How do you know when the peak is? can i watch the exact same brodcast thing tomorrow ont he website if i pause it? When will the next meteor storm happen? What is the ISS?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: 1))Rarely, only during outbursts, such as the '99 Leonids. 2)The meteor shower names of 2011 are the same as those of 2010. A google search of 'meteor showers' should come up with a good list. 3)The visual peak is when the radiant (where the Geminids appear to come from) is at its highest, which is 1 to 3 am local time. 4)The video stream should be live again tomorrow night. You can also see videos of the Geminids on 5)The next meteor storm is unknown. 6) The ISS is the International Space Station. A space station that orbits at 250 miles up! :)

SouthTexas101: all that is missing from the live stream cam view is a model of the starship enterpise going past...

Rhiannon_Blaauw: :)

Winter_Sal: Where is the contellation of Gemini? is next to Orion?

Danielle_Moser: Gemini is just to the northeast of Orion.

ALIZA: Could these meteors ever enter earth's atmosphere? Considering they've grown in number?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Actually, that is what you are seeing! When the particles enter the Earth's atmosphere, they burn up, and that is what we see.

SoreNeck: Is 3200 Phaeton still ejecting debris?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Recent findings have noticed dust still coming out of Phaethon.

ara_starkey: Yeah! Finally I've seen 10 in an Hour... but why they have different directions???

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Yea! That's great. :) They all have different directions, but are still all pointed to the same director. If you google search 'geminid radiant' or 'meteor radiant' you will find a picture that helps you understand this.

Matthew: Can the ISS catch paticles from the path and study them?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: The ISS and the particles are both going so fast that they will vaporize when they hit each other. NASA has flown missions in the upper atmosphere to collect cometary particles and study them in a laboratory. This is difficult as the particle needs to hit a material that will cause it to slow down, not just instantly vaporize.

miley_cyrus: Is a shooting star the same as meteor?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Yup! So start wishing!

ara_starkey: Welll, it's time to go to sleep. Thanks for all!!! Good "morning" :P CU everyone!!!

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Thanks for joining us :)

BuffaloHOODa: What is the slowest speed a meteor will go?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: 11 kilometers per second, or almost 8 miles per second.

krushkoix: the max ZHR?

Danielle_Moser: The maximum ZHR (zenith hourly rate) is 120 meteors per hour. But this is the number of meteors an observer would see in 1 hour under a clear sky (of limiting magnitude 6.5) if the shower radiant was at zenith, directly overhead. More realistic rates are in the range 50-80 meteors per hour. The International Meteor Organization is reporting observed rates (collected by observers worldwide) of about 80 meteors per hour right now.

stjernekigger: Are the meteors pieces of 3200 Phaethon?

Danielle_Moser: It is thought that the object 3200 Phaethon is the parent of the Geminids, yes.

starchild84: Does a higher altitude enhance visibility?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: If you are up in the mountains, you may have a clearer atmosphere, so you may be able to see more!

JavaNights: Can the meteor shower be visible in NC?

Danielle_Moser: Yes, if you have clear weather and dark skies!

ALIZA: Where did you guys set up the ustream?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: At the Automated Lunar and Meteor Observatory (ALaMO) at Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Alabama.

Josh_U2: Hi at what time its going to be the top peak, central time?

Danielle_Moser: The peak is occuring right now. You'll also see increased meteor rates at 5 CST, when the Earth travels through the densest part of the stream.

Plan-B: Hello, Is the image on the live cam flipped? I can't make out what constelations I'm seeing.

Rhiannon_Blaauw: The camera is pointed north, about 45 degrees up. The field of view (28 degrees along the horizontal) is not large enough to make our clear constellations, unfortunately! Mostly camelopardalis is taking up the field of view currently.

WB8ELK: Nice viewing here in Madison Alabama.....seeing about 1 per minute for as long as I can stand being outside... but since it's 14 degrees's much nicer to view your streaming video cam inside the comfort of my house.

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Fantastic! We have seen some real nice ones on the ustream, too.

cdo: I live in NYC. Is there a chance of ever seeing something besides the moon or is there just too much light? Is there any place/type of place nearby you would recommend?

Danielle_Moser: You've got A LOT of light polluion in NYC. Most of the faint Geminids will be washed out, but you still might see the brighter ones. I'm not sure of places nearby, but generically "away from the city" is the only advice I can offer, sorry.

fifistar: Do meteor showers happen on the other planets? and if yes, how would the meteors lool like there!

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Meteor showers do happen on other planets! However they are likely different meteor showers than those that occur on earth, since mars, or venus (or other planets) pass through different streams of debris than earth does. The showers would also look different since other planets have a different atmosphere than earth does. For examples, Mars has a very thin atmosphere,so likely more meteors will reach the surface on Mars than they do on earth.

Skywatchgirl: Can I see them on decmber 13 after midnight?

Danielle_Moser: The peak is going on now, December 14th.

rampartbase: It's supposed to snow here in minnesota...

Danielle_Moser: What rotten luck! I'm sorry to hear that :-(

westsydegal: Hello! I am in Los Angeles, about 12:33am. Which direction in the sky should I be looking? North? Northeast? Thanks!

Rhiannon_Blaauw: You should look straight up, and give your eyes some time to adjust to the dark. I hope it is nice and warm for you, because you should be passing through the densest part of the stream between 2 and 3 am. You are in an excellent position. Happy viewing!

WB8ELK: Do you know what video camera you are using for the meteor skycam? - Bill in Madison AL

Danielle_Moser: It's a gen III intensified camera.

tonyherrera: Good morning going to sleep a little b. I have to work tomorrow at 7:00 am, But I am happy the show was great. Thank you guys congratulations

Danielle_Moser: Thanks for joining us! Have a great night! :-)

scherzingerboy: How is the peak going to look like? a lot of stars or something else?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: A lot of 'shooting stars'.

Syn: Do they make any sort of noise as they go down? I cant seem to spot any.

Danielle_Moser: If you're outside observing them, the meteors don't typically cause audible sounds. But sometimes hissing sounds have been reporting for very bright meteors. Sonic booms have been heard for very bright Leonid meteors, but this is very rare.

WB8ELK: Is the sky camera online every night on UStream?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Nope, just for special occasions such as this.

VENEZI: Has the bulk of it past already?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Nope! If you go out and look right now you will see a nice show :)

HUGO2326: And what happen with the meteors that impact the earth they just desintegrate? or do they reach the surface of the earth?

Danielle_Moser: Most meteors ablate, or burn up, completely in the atmosphere. Occasionally some meteors make it all the way to the ground -- at that point they are called meteorites.

daerith: from where are you watching?

Danielle_Moser: We are located at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, USA.

jjpav76: I'm in Denver, CO.. I've loved astronomy since I was young.. I've been sitting out and have only seen one beautiful fiery falling star...what direction should I look?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: I'm sorry! We have seen a great show here in Alabama. Perhaps your light pollution is fairly bad? If you look straight up and let your eyes adjust for a while, you should hopefully see some!

aSTARisBORN: Excellent viewing from Kit Peak.

Danielle_Moser: Sweet!

lidiapantoja78: Is the sky camera going to be online on the 21st? I thinks we have a eclipse lunar total, o eclipse solar total, something like that, i don't remember how to say it in english lol

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Yes! There will be a video feed and a chat for that event. Please tune in! :)

aSTARisBORN: I saw a light green and why are some different colors?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: The color is due to a mixture of atmospheric emission lines and emission from the meteoroid material itself as it ablates. It also could be how your own eye perceives color.

JavaNights: I wasn't able to see anything from here in eastern nc...what direction should i look?

Danielle_Moser: You just need to look up and be patient (I know that can be hard). Also, make sure you aren't frequently going inside because that can really mess with your eyes. You need to give your eyes lots of time to dark adapt. If you are really frustrated right now, you might want to try again closer to dawn. We'll be traveling through a dense part of the stream about then.

ALIZA: Are the whistle-like noises realted to the meteors or is that just background noise? Btw the hands were scary lol

Rhiannon_Blaauw: The meteors ionize the air around them as they burn up and these ionized air molecules reflect radio waves back to the radio. As the meteor moves, the frequency changes, which accounts for the various sounds.

like_to_know: Do you know what the typical size range is in feet of the meteors is?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: For the Geminids, the particles are mm to cm sized.

lo49: I saw about 5 here in the nashville area! huge ball of blue. absolutely spectacular.

Danielle_Moser: Excellent!

WB8ELK: I heard a sonic boom during the big Leonids Meteor storm in lit up the sky like daylight and left a glowing smoke ring in the sky for a minute or more....this happened twice that night over Huntsville AL.

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Very cool!

Lidica: Hi!!. I'm from Spain. Now, here it's almost 10 am. Last night I was so sad, because the sky was cloudy. I have to wait untill next year. I hope you're enjoying the geminids!!

Danielle_Moser: Sorry to hear it was cloudy! Just FYI, you may still see Geminids on the 15th, though the rates will be reduced.

ALIZA: Is the cause for these meteors maybe that Phaethon passes too close to the sun?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: The meteors are because Phaethon left debris, and earth is now travelling through it. :) The debris may be due to ices in Phaethon melting as it approached the sun.

TASHLI71: Should I look straight up too?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Yup! Straight up. And let your eyes adjust to the dark. We have been seeing lots here in Alabama!

TASHLI71: Headed back outside for the 4th time. Crossing my fingers I'll see something this time. Cold out there! Lakeland,FL.

Rhiannon_Blaauw: It is real cold here, too! I hope that if you haven't been able to see them outside, that you've caught a bunch on the video feed.

lilmeezer: Thank you all so much for keeing us informed, I had tried to see the showers earlier and didn't see anything, but because I was able to see a few go across the telescope feed, I ran outside just now and in the five minutes I was standing out there (in the freezing cold ha ha!) I saw five or six go across. I can sleep in peace!

Danielle_Moser: That's GREAT! I'm so glad you were able to catch some Geminids! :-D

daerith: Can you tell me when is the peak or peaks? I really want my family to see this but they're going to kill me if I keep them awake too long =S. Tanks!

Rhiannon_Blaauw: 1 to 3 am local time is the best time to visually observe them.

like_to_know: Wow I thought they would be much bigger than mm or cm. If this is true why is there not a constant burn for space dust that falls to earth? Or maybe my question should be how big must the particle be to produce a visible burn?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Despite the particle being only mm to cm sized, the ionization trail is considerably larger (think along the scale of a battleship). That is what the radio waves bounce off of, and that is what you see, visually.

ThePeacePixie: Lidica - they're amazing! :) Keep a keen eye out and you may see a few! They've been pretty noticeable, larger than usual. -In:Colorado, US as of current, 2AM.

Danielle_Moser: We've seen a lot here in Huntsville, AL, too!

cephurs: I just saw about half a dozen in 8 minutes or so. very cool. fast moving here in Montana. Are we all seeing the same meteors? Can Alaska or Hawaii see the same ones that I'm looking at?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: You can see the same exact meteor from about 200 kilometers away, so those people in Alaska and Hawaii won't be seeing the exact same particles, though they are still Geminids!

Evnissyen: Thank you for doing this stream tonight! It's been cloudy here for the past few nights, and will be cloudy again tomorrow, so I really appreciate being able to watch the shower online.

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Fantastic. We've enjoyed this, too :)

gary916: Excuse me, where is a good spot in northern california, sacramento to be specific, which direction would i want to look???

Rhiannon_Blaauw: California is a great location to view the Geminids this year. If you go out right now, and stay out for a couple hours, you should see quite the show. Give your eyes some time to adjust and look straight up.

David88: How fast meteor moves?

Danielle_Moser: A Geminid meteor moves about 80,000 mph. It would travel from NY to LA in about 2 minutes.

carlos: How many meteors per hour are we getting rigt now?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: International Meteor Organization ( has reported 83 meteors perhour.

ahsszqb: Why are the ZHR in some years more than other years?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: The Geminids are unique in that the original reported rates were considerably lower (about 25 first recorded in 1882), and they have slowly increased decade-by-decade.

caro_alexandra: Well, seeing that it's 6am here in Buenos Aires, and that I didn't get any sleep last night, I better go to bed. Thanks for the live stream, I tried watching from my window, but the light pollution wouldn't let me see anything.

Danielle_Moser: Sorry to hear that. Maybe you can try again tomorrow (though the rates will be much reduced)? But thanks for joining us and have a good day!

cjc8123: I haven't seen anything on the video i being too impatient? how often are they happening?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: I am seeing almost one per minute. There was a slightly lull though - so maybe you caught it during the lull. Keep looking!

BEN: why do they come from different directions if they are from the same source?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: The best way to describe this is for you to google search 'meteor radiant' or 'geminid radiant'. They are coming from different relative directions, though all pointing towards the same point, which is the geminid radiant.

aSTARisBORN: Any way to measure how fast they are traveling?

Danielle_Moser: Not really with the naked eye. Geminids have been measured to tavel about 80,000 mph. That's about 60 times faster than the Concorde jet.

neu9: hi there, how can I see the meteor shower in my telescope.... whats the correct direction?... I in México.

Rhiannon_Blaauw: A meteor shower is best seen with the naked eye -- not a telescope. A telescope gives too small a field of view. You will want to go outside and try to get away from light pollution. Give your eyes some time to adjust to the dark, look straight up, and then enjoy the show!

cephurs: Thanks for sharing your knowledge. I've seen the mention of 1-3am local time. Is that because that is the darkest part of night? Get down 'bama.

Danielle_Moser: That's when the Geminid radiant is highest in the sky. Rates also are expected to increase in North America close to 5 CST.

VENEZI: When is the most dense time/peak time suposed to be on the west coast?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: The west coast is in a prime location to view the Geminids. Between 1 am and 3 am is the local visual peak ... but even after 3 you will have a great show as you are entering the most dense part of the Geminid stream.

foo: How many arcminutes of sky is the live feed showing?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: The field of view is 28 degrees along the horizontal. We are looking north, at about 45 degrees elevation.

JavaNights: How can I view it online? is there a different place to connect to the video stream?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: There should be a link in the article above!

dvn: Rhiannon, can you please tell me if the peak has gone?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Well, that depends on your location. If your skies are still dark than nope -- the peak is still going on. Go outside and take a look. We are seeing a great show tonight. :)

Danniboy: Just saw 4 within the past half hour! They seemed to be zooming in from all directions. Why is that so?

Danielle_Moser: The Geminids appear to come from a point in the sky near the star Castor in the constellation Gemini. This is called the radiant. Many times you will see meteors in all different parts of the sky, moving in different directions, but if you trace back along the meteor path the paths from each of the meteors will intersect at the radiant point. If you try this and this is not the case, then it is likely that some of the meteors you saw were not Geminids, but where in fact associated with another meteor shower or are part of the sporadic background of meteors.

phaseguy: How big is this shower going to be?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: In the most ideal conditions you should see between 100 and 120 meteors per hour. More realistically you will see between 50 and 80 at its visual peak (1 am to 3 am local time).

rampartbase: It's been absolutely incredible watching it online thanks for giving that to those of us who can/t see it outside.

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Glad you enjoyed it! :)

fifistar: I want to ask you about the camera used in live stream, you know the contellation of Gemini moves in the sky because of earths rotation, so is the camera being reoriented authomaticly ?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: The camera is just pointing at one fixed location. The meteors are seen all over the sky, so it is fairly safe to keep it pointed there. We wouldn't want to point it directly to Gemini, though, just as I would not recommend looking directly to Gemini.

like_to_know: So the light show we are seeing is not the result of the particle burning?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Yes, the meteors ARE a result of the particle burning, or ablating, or ionizing, as it enters the earth's atmosphere.

stjernekigger: This was a great idea, I've learned so much - good night: )

Rhiannon_Blaauw: So glad you enjoyed it! :)

SoCal_watcher: Thank you for all the interesting information, hope you enjoy the rest of the show! Good night, :-)

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Thanks! And thanks for coming :)

WB8ELK: Just a comment and then I'm braving the cold once again for awhile....during the big Leonids meteor 10 years ago there were so many streaking across the sky (1000 an hour) that I could actually clearly see the radiant.

Rhiannon_Blaauw: That is WAY cool. Some of the people I work with were doing observing campaigns during that time and they have fantastic stories.

skywatch: Thanks again NASA!!

Rhiannon_Blaauw: You are welcome. :) Thanks for coming!

cyber5: I'm in Central Phoenix and even with all the light pollution - I'm getting about 1 every 2 minutes, they seem to have to be as bright as Orion's belt stars.

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Great. Glad to hear a report like this!

d14238: Can someone tell me the best time to see the meteor shower? Rhiannon_Blaauw: 1 am to 3 am local time.

(Moderator Brooke): Hello to everyone just now joining the chat! Here are some viewing tips from our astronomers. Go out to an area where there is as little light pollution as possible, and give your eyes some time to adjust. It often takes 45 minutes for your eyes to fully adjust to the dark. If your area has poor weather, unfortunately there isn't much use in trying to see Geminids live, BUT you can check our our live Web cam: Most of the world is positioned for a great view of the Geminids. Only if you live below 50 degrees (South) latitude are you unable to see the Geminids, which rules out antarctica. For those that live around the equator or in the northern hemisphere, the best time to see the Geminids is between 1am and 2 am local time, though you should be able to see plenty all night long. After you have given your eyes time to adjust to the dark, just look straight up, be patient, and then enjoy.

foo: What is observed if a meteor "skip"s off the atmosphere?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: The closest to what you are getting at would be called a 'grazer', where the meteor comes in at a very low angle and just 'grazes' along and lasts a while. Even grazers will usually get completely ablated in the atmosphere and not 'skipped off' though.

CLAYSAYS84: how close are meteors when they pass by?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: The Geminid meteors burn up about 75 kilometers, or 47 miles up, the lowest recorded Geminid is at 35 km, or 22 miles up.

nicool: What are the meteors generally made up of? and you said they are mm to cm in size as they reach earths atmosphere? how can something so small produce so much light?

Danielle_Moser: Meteoroids are generally made of rock and ice. Typical sizes of Geminid meteoroids are mm - cm sized particles, you are right. It's pretty amazing that something so small produces so much light, isn't it? But these particles are moving EXTREMELY fast, about 80,000 mph. Technical answer: As the meteoroids plow into the atmosphere they collide with many, many air molecules and this strips away the outer layers of the particle. In subsequent collisions electrons are knocked into higher orbits. When the electrons fall back down to their rest positions, light is emitted and we see it as a meteor.

CLAYSAYS84: Are we able to hear any of the metors as they burn up?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Yup! If you turn up the audio on the ustream video you may hear chirps and whistles. The meteors ionize the air around them as they burn up and these ionized air molecules reflect radio waves back to the radio. As the meteor moves, the frequency changes, which accounts for the various sounds. Some people have been known to hear meteors with their own ears while observing them. The meteors will have to be very low though, in order to be heard that way.

tomthx: Sorry I arrived late and have seen a few flashes on live stream which is great. I have been reading up about the shower, since reading the NASA tweet yesterday, and would like to know the best time to view the shower in Sydney Australia?

Danielle_Moser: Well, the peak time was between 1 and 3 am local time on the morning of Dec 14. But you can still see meteors Dec 14-15, though the rates will be somewhat reduced.

Tania: NASA thanks for the transmision , we saw an imagen like the earth or moon, what was that?

Danielle_Moser: The USTREAM briefly tapped into the feed from the International Space Station.

view3dtv: hi thanks for being there... in baltimore md how much does the shower trail off the next few days?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: It will trail off considerably. Tomorrow night you may see 30-50 meteors per hour, and then the next night it *may* be half of that again. But keep in mind that these meteor showers occur often! The Quadrantids are at the beginning of January and are quite a nice shower as well.

SouthTexas101: That was the biggest one yet looked like a tennis ball in size. wow!

Rhiannon_Blaauw: We've seen a couple beauts here as well!

(Moderator Brooke): Thanks for the fantastic participation everyone! Really appreciate all of the great comments and questions. This is shaping up to be a terrific night for Geminid-viewing. We're entering the last half hour of our "up all night" chat, so please send your final questions to Danielle and Rhiannon. Thanks much.

sara: So glad for the live feed, as Los Angeles is covered in a thick blanket of fog, the likes of which I can't ever recall seeing... Of course if I was up in the hills or even near the mountains, I don't know if the weather would be any different... but glad I've caught a few here on the live feed :)

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Glad you can watch here, Sara. But I'm disappointed LA is covered in fog!

WB8ELK: Could only stand to be outside for 5 minutes (can I borrow a Space Suit?)....but I saw 10 good ones in that time...approx 2 per minute at the moment. Is the audio on your feed coming from bursts from the NAVSPASUR radar? - Bill in Madison AL

Danielle_Moser: Pretty cold for AL, eh? :-) The audio feed is from the forward scatter radar system here at Marshall Space Flight Center. Take a look at

Aziza: what could make the shower heavier except thecomet pass ?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: The shower stream may be moving closer to the earth's orbit due to various gravitational affects.

Hodgetucson05: I'm in tucson and it is 2:17 AM, have I missed the action?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Nope! Go outside and look... you should still see lots. :) Let us know if you do see many!

nicool: Thanks so much for all the info tonight! this was really cool :) hopefully I'll catch some tomorrow! have a great night, all :)

Rhiannon_Blaauw: You too! Thanks for joining us!

view3dtv: Do the astronauts on the ISS have a good view of the meteor shower?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: The astronauts on the ISS could potentially see Geminids. However they are orbiting at 250 miles up, and the Geminids ablate at about 47 miles up, so the astronauts would have to look down instead of up.

BEN: what is the black point in the bottom right of the video feed? and which way is north on the feed?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: The black point is a defect of the camera, unfortunately.

NYC_Watcher: Is the live feed being recorded and will it be available for download?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: No, however if you go to you will be able to see videos of bright Geminids over the next few days! Also, the ustream video should still be up tomorrow night for your enjoyment.

cyber5: Do any of the Radio telescopes pay attention to meteor showers? Can they tune into them, or are they too close?

Danielle_Moser: Indeed they do, though some showers aren't ideal for observing with a radio telescope, due to their size/speed (ie the Canadian Meteor Orbit Radar (CMOR) doesn't observe many Perseids since the stream has a lot of larger particles).

like_to_know: Would you be able to see the show from the space station?

Danielle_Moser: Yes, when ISS is on the night side of the Earth astronauts can look down and see meteors ablate in the Earth's atmosphere from above.

ThePeacePixie: So do we only see reflections of light bouncing off each meteor from the sun- like the moon, persay; or do we only see the light emitted from combustion of each meteor in our atmosphere?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: The second option. What we see is the burning up, or ablating, or ionization of the particles in the atmosphere. When the meteoroid hits the atmosphere, electrons pop off the atoms. This is called ionization. While the particle itself may be only an inch across, the ionization trail can be many feet across.

CLAYSAYS84: Are meteors close enough to earth for us to hear them?

Danielle_Moser: When you're outside observing meteors it is not likely that you'll hear an audible sound from a meteor. Sometimes a hissing sound has been reported for very bright meteors, though. (A sonic boom has been heard from very bright Leonids, but this is very rare.)

rompromp: Really enjoyed the live feed, cant see anything up in B.C. Canada due to rain. Really enjoyed reading all the info, thanks for doing the live chat! Thanks!

Rhiannon_Blaauw: So glad you enjoyed it! We are enjoying doing it. And hello from a fellow Canadian. :)

chrissyk: I must be looking at the wrong place in the sky. I'm in HSV, AL, I've been outside for about 15 minutes and I don't see anything. I'm illiterate with the stars... I see a dipper... should I Be looking elsewhere???

Danielle_Moser: We've seen several in the USTREAM feed recently. You just need to be looking up. Make sure your eyes have had a chance to adapt to the dark so that you can see the most meteors as possible. (It can take about 45 min to really dark adapt). Even light from a computer screen (like this one) can mess up your night vision.

nicool: Will we still be able to catch any 'shooting stars' tomorrow night?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Yup! Though the rates will be much less. You can maybe see 30-50 meteors per hour tomorrow evening. Still worth checking out if you weren't able to see any tonight!

Sadida: I live in Illinois, is the best time to view the shower right now, and which way should I look in the sky?

Danielle_Moser: Right now is a good time to look. The radiant is no longer at its maximum at this point, though it's still very high in the sky -- so you should still see quite a few good meteors. The Earth will pass through the densest part of the stream at about 5 CST so you can look then as well.

Tania: the imagen that we saw a few minutes is the earth? is amazing

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Yes! That brief image was from a camera on the International Space Station, pointed towards earth.

like_to_know: Thanks for the feed. Newark, CA has clouds.

Danielle_Moser: Sorry to hear it. Glad to know the feed has offset your disappointment a bit -- We've been really lucky here in Huntsville, AL - the sky has been very clear.

CLAYSAYS84: When will we have a meteor shower at night when it is not so cold? haha

Rhiannon_Blaauw: I feel for ya! This is not the most tropical time of year in North America. The perseids in August are probably your best bet. They are a great shower and its a great time of year to sit out at night. Personally they are my favorite observational shower.

brian: ok i give up, i couldn't see any meteor tonight i hope to have better luck tomorrow at night but thanks for this experience and all the info nasa

Danielle_Moser: Hope you have better luck tomorrow!

tomthx: Is there a particular direction we should be looking into the sky here in Sydney (Aus) to see the show?

Danielle_Moser: You're rather far south in the southern hemisphere. You'll want to look towards the northern skies.

CLAYSAYS84: I am in north carolina and it is almost 5am. Is there a chance of seeing anymore meteors tonight?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Yup - still a chance. If you go out right now and look up I bet you'll see a few good ones before sunrise.

(Moderator Brooke): Hi everyone -- we're getting into our last moments of the chat, so please send your final questions to Danielle and Rhiannon. They have time to answer a few more. Thanks!

view3dtv: I figured they would have to look down.. would be neat if they could get some video from that perspective!

Danielle_Moser: Geminids have been observed by ISS astronauts in the past. They do have a feed from ISS up and running, so I think they are getting video!

fifistar: I'm asking you again if the meteor shower rate is going to fewer in the comming years , and if one day there will nor Geminids , coz all the phaethon debris would be burned up!! and what's the approximate weught of meteors streaking the sky each year and thank you sooooo much guys! I love you!

Rhiannon_Blaauw: This is a difficult question to answer. Some scientist think that Jupiter will pull the Geminid stream away from earth, and some people think that the Geminid rates will continue to increase. Only time will tell!

chrissyk: Thank you! I appreciate the feed. I think I'm too surrounded by street lights to see it outside so I'm glad for this view online!

Rhiannon_Blaauw: You are welcome! This has been fun.

nyou1: When is best time ti view shower in AZ and which way should we be looking?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Look straight up! It should be nice right now if your skies are clear. It may take your eyes a bit to adjust to the dark.

BrownEyedGirl: In which direction do you look to see the most meteors tonight?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Your best bet is to look straight up.

mOji: What are Geminid made of?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Rocky composition. Ices and dusts and some organic chemicals.

William_Wood: You've indicated several times that ISS astronauts can see the meteors by looking down. Does the debris pose a risk to the ISS?

Danielle_Moser: There is a slightly elevated risk to spacecraft in orbit during the Geminids. It is unlikely that ISS would bit hit, however. The station is heavily armored in any event (mostly to protect against orbital debris).

ahsszqb: Do People in China can see the Earth pass through the denset part of the stream at night?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: If you are in China, go out tonight and you will see a good number of meteors between 1 and 3 am local time, if your skies are clear.

DaraghH: I would just to thank the NASA team for the live chat and feed. From Ireland (DUB) :)

Danielle_Moser: It's been our pleasure!

jobeibi: Is straight up the best direction all night long, or should we shift as the earth turns?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Straight up if you are in the northern hemisphere. If you are in the southern hemisphere, look slightly north of straight up.

BrownEyedGirl: I'm in it too late? It's cold outside....

Danielle_Moser: We're seeing a lot of meteors on the USTREAM here in Alabama right now. So it's not too late!

InTheClouds: Thank you so much for this opportunity. My girlfriend and I are watching this together. She's in Canada while I'm in the States. It's been a wonderful experience! :)

Danielle_Moser: Thanks for joining us!

BrownEyedGirl: What is USTREAM? Can I watch?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Absolutely! There is a link in the article above. You can see meteors from Huntsville, Alabama (we are seeing many tonight!).

Lazarus: It was an incredible experience... from Mexico thank you. Bye bye.

Rhiannon_Blaauw: You are welcome! Goodnight :)

alexww: Hi Observers, question: do the astronauts on the Space Station see meteors light up like we do on the surface? What is the higest elevation from the Earth's surface that the Station achieves?

Danielle_Moser: Yes, astronauts on the space station see flashes from meteors in Earth's atmosphere. But, as they are 250 miles above the Earth, astronauts have to look down upon the Earth (whereas we look up).

Luján: Do some of these meteors will touch the ground?

Danielle_Moser: These meteors burn up in the atmosphere.

Dayal: At what time can we see the showers in Mumbai skies?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: At 1 to 3 am local time tonight you should be able to see a good number of them.

BrownEyedGirl: How big are these meteors?

Rhiannon_Blaauw: The ones you are seeing tonight, the Geminids, are mm or cm sized. Pebble-sized.

Rhiannon_Blaauw: Goodnight, all! You've been great and it was enjoyable to answer your questions tonight. Hope you learned something and were able to see a few Geminids for yourself.

cyber5: Can u give us some tech specs on the ustream feed? Camera, lens, Field of View? and is that background noise one of the meteor sound simulators you've done in the past?

Danielle_Moser: USTREAM is a gen III intensified camera pointed north at an angle of 45 degrees. It's field of view is roughly 28 degress across and 21 degrees high. The audio you are listening to is from the forward scatter radar. You'll hear mostly noise, with an occasional chirp or whistle as a meteor reflects a far away radio station.

Danielle_Moser: It's been a fun evening everyone! I hope you managed to see a few Geminids, either outside or here on the USTREAM!

(Moderator Brooke): Thanks to all of you who have shared your Geminids viewing experiences tonight. You've helped to make this a huge success, and we hope that you enjoyed staying "up all night" with NASA meteor experts Danielle Moser and Rhiannon Blaauw. Thank you, Danielle and Rhiannon! Check back on this page ( in a few days to see a transcript of the live chat questions and answers. Also, the live feed at will be up for a couple more days. You can still view Geminids, albeit at a reduced rate. We're off for some sleep and hope you can do the same. Have a wonderful evening, meteor fans!
Janet Anderson, 256-544-6162
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.