The world’s greatest display of meteor showers – the Geminids – has begun. And some scientists are worried.
December’s Geminids are the most spectacular and reliable of the annual meteor showers. And according to scientists, this year’s showers will far exceed any that have happened before.
According to the International Meteor Organization, 2010 will be the best years for viewing this lively meteor display. Viewers can expect to see from 50o to 12,000 meteors an hour. That’s a lot of meteors!
This has many scientists and astronomers worried. “Typically there are only 40-95 meteors an hour during December, but the increase in quantity has us concerned. There is a real possibility that the an asteroid may also hit earth. We are watching the situation closely,” said NASA astronomer John Comito.
The massive Geminid meteor shower returns every year, so you’ll have more chances if the cold proves too much for you on the night of Dec. 13.
But anyone in North America who skips the total lunar eclipse on the night of Dec. 20 will be missing what promises to be the best lunar eclipse show until April 2098. And on Dec. 21 the moon will have a purple glow to it. It will occur at 12:57 a.m. EST. This “purple moon” hasn’t happened since 1672. You can NOT miss that.
Like most meteor showers, the Geminids will be at their best after midnight (early on the morning of Dec. 14), when the Earth is heading directly into the meteoroid stream. But some will be visible earlier in the night, on the evening of Dec. 13, because the meteors’ radiant (where they appear to originate) is nearly circumpolar, so they will stay in view above the horizon all night.
How to watch the meteors:
1) BUNDLE UP. It’s going to be cold. Unless you live in a warm climate, then just wear a light jacket, unless you are always hot, then you won’t need a jacket.
2) LOOK AT THE SKY. Some stargazers forget this and start talking to their friends. Chit-chat is the enemy of stargazing/meteor watching. Keep your eyes on the sky!
3) GET COMFORTABLE. Sit in a lawn chair. Maybe bring your bed outside. Have a few drinks, maybe a bottle of wine or two. You might see stars more clearly if you are liquored up.
4) NO BINOCULARS OR TELESCOPES. The meteors are going to be coming fast and furious. You don’t need binoculars. Plus if one of the stars is heading your way, you don’t want to be hit while you are looking through binoculars. You want to see it coming, so you can duck.
5) LISTEN TO MUSIC. We suggest Lady Gaga, Justin Beiber or Taylor Swift. Because that’s the most popular music on the planet now and meteors are accustomed to hearing it. So play it loud, play it often. Definitely do not play The Jonas Brothers or Miley Cyrus or ANY classic rock. Meteors hate classic rock.
6) BOBBLEHEADS. It’s important that you have a Bat Boy Bobblehead with you when you are watching the meteors. You can GET YOUR BAT BOY BOBBLEHEAD HERE.
7) GET ROMANTIC. Bring your wife, husband, lover, mistress, or your Swingers Club outside and just take it all in. The heavens will light up.