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Old 12-12-2010, 02:29 PM   #1
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1978 28' Ambassador
Morada , California
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,583
A gem of a meteor shower


Brian Webb
Post Office Box 6484
Thousand Oaks, CA 91359-6484
ATTN: Launch Alert

which informs the public of launch dates from Vandenberg AFB of rockets, missiles and other interesting stuffs. today this came:

Astronomy Magazine News Release
by Matt Qandt
2010 December 9

One of the finest meteor showers of 2010, the Geminids should put on a rousing show the night of December 13/14.

WAUKESHA, WI -- One of the most prolific annual meteor showers makes
its appearance in mid-December. The Geminid shower peaks the night of
December 13/14. Although many people consider it to be a poor cousin
to August's Perseid shower, the Geminids often put on a better show.
This year, observers can expect to see upward of 100 "shooting stars"
per hour - an average of nearly two per minute - under a dark sky.

"Conditions should be wonderful for the Geminids this year," says
Astronomy magazine senior editor Michael Bakich. "The First Quarter
Moon sets around midnight local time, leaving the prime viewing hours
after midnight free from any unwanted natural lighting."

The only potential drawback is cloud cover, which, unfortunately,
tends to be fairly common this time of year. Rates for this shower
remain decent a day on either side of the peak, so target the morning
of December 13 or 15 if the weather looks bad on the 14th.

Any stray light in the sky tends to drown out fainter meteors, so find
an observing site far from the lights of the city. A large field is
ideal because you then can let your eyes roam across the whole sky.
December nights tend to be cold, however, so bundle up in layers.
Reclining in a lawn chair is a great way to take in a lot of the sky
at once, but be sure to get up and walk around occasionally. It also
helps to drink some hot coffee or tea.

The Geminids begin as tiny specks of dust that hit Earth's atmosphere
at 78,000 mph (126,000 km/h), vaporizing from friction with the air
and leaving behind the streaks of light we call meteors. The meteors
appear to radiate from the constellation Gemini the Twins (hence their
name), near the bright stars Castor and Pollux. This spot, called the
radiant, remains visible all night and passes nearly overhead around
2 a.m. local time. Although the meteors seem to originate in Gemini,
they can appear anywhere in the sky and actually leave longer trails
the farther they are from the radiant.
Ray & Pat; Morada, CA
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