Meteor Alert!!!

December 9, 2019

Geminid Meteor Shower 2019.

It´s that time again folks when my favourite meteor shower of the year appears again… The Geminids.  Albeit this year there will be an almost full moon but still well worth a look!  All week in the dark December skies we have an opportunity to view this marvel.  However, the peak, usually producing 50 to 60 shooting stars an hour, is the night of 13th and 14th and the moon won’t affect the bright majority of meteors.

comets tenerife
Shooting stars courtesy of Lapsus Temporis

I was lucky enough to watch the Geminids last year and it was a brilliant, although I must admit slightly alcohol induced, viewing.  Hey, it is near Christmas!  I watched as bright streaks ran across the sky in what appeared to be from East to West as Gemini rose higher.  It was like some one had put some Christmas lights in the night sky.

We often see shooting stars on our tour, but the shower peaks are amazing.  Most people on the tour are amazed to discover that most meteors we see are actually only the size of a grain of sand.  Smashing into our atmosphere only 60 miles above our heads at speeds of up to 80,000 miles per hour.  As the plough through our atmosphere, the ice particles (Space dust) are disintegrated and ignited by the friction caused of the atmosphere of the earth.

Annual Meteor showers get their names from the constellation they appear to radiate from.  Geminids get their name as their radiant point appears to be from the bright star of Castor in the constellation Gemini.  However, it’s only an appearance as I just explained.  In fact, the effect of a shower is cause by the Earth tearing through the debris field of a comet that has orbited the Sun and at some point gone close enough to break up a bit and leave a trail of icy dust behind it.  In the case of the Geminids Shower it is the dust trail of 3200 Phaeton an Apollo asteroid with an orbit that takes it closer to the Sun than any other named asteroid.  For this reason, it was named after the Greek myth of Phaethon, son of the sun God Heilos.

You can see the effect of the shower for a week or two either side of its peak so if you want to see some meteors book a tour today with us.  On offer until 31st December is the Star Safari or book our New Lone Star Tour.

If you have any questions, then please leave a comment or get in touch via email.

Until Next time this Kieran signing off.

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