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122 comments

Dupe (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11066739)

"This shower was also covered by Slashdot in 2003, 2002, and 2001."

This should make it easy to come up with interesting and insightful things to say

Re:Dupe (1, Offtopic)

kfg (145172) | more than 9 years ago | (#11066747)

Like:

Ok, so what you're telling us that this story is a dupe of a dupe of a dupe?

KFG

Re:Dupe (1)

ravenspear (756059) | more than 9 years ago | (#11067089)

Ok, so what you're telling us that this story is a dupe of a dupe of a dupe?

No. In order to qualify as an official "dupe," a story must be posted an unreasonably short amount of time after one nearly identical to it, or in such a way as to give comments under said story the grounds to mock the incompetent discernment exercised by a mod in posting the story.

Re:Dupe (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 9 years ago | (#11067143)

. . .or in such a way as to give comments under said story the grounds to mock the incompetent discernment exercised by a mod in posting the story.

But, don't we, like, have those grounds for every story?

KFG

Ok, i'll bite (3, Informative)

daniil (775990) | more than 9 years ago | (#11066928)

Don't worry if you miss this one, for Mother Nature has a Christmas present for you. The Ursids [amsmeteors.org] are next. They max out on December 22-23. It's not as strong as the Geminid shower, but hey, it's still better than nothing.

Re:Ok, i'll bite (1)

IchBinDasWalross (720916) | more than 9 years ago | (#11067066)

They were also covered over the past three years.

Re:Ok, i'll bite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11067070)

NO. They max out on December 25. Get the facts straight.

CJ

Re:Ok, i'll bite (1)

daniil (775990) | more than 9 years ago | (#11067101)

Heh. I *knew* something like this would happen when i copied the exact same post from the 2001 Slashdot story :H

stupid snow storms (1)

Clay Pigeon -TPF-VS- (624050) | more than 9 years ago | (#11066741)

I have never seen the this shower because I live in a northerly climate that isnt hospitable to astronomy most of the time. Will it be worth the 5 hour trip south?

Re:stupid snow storms (1)

adeydas (837049) | more than 9 years ago | (#11066998)

the best place to see this in india would be rajasthan.

Re:stupid snow storms (1)

kryogen1x (838672) | more than 9 years ago | (#11067108)

I live in New York, and I think I remember seeing this (or some other shower) last year from my back yard. It was pretty cool, but 5 hours is a bit long, unless you are really into astronomy or things of that sort. Just curious, where do you live anyway?

Re:stupid snow storms (1)

jbrelie (322599) | more than 9 years ago | (#11067281)

a/s/l?

Re:stupid snow storms (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11068601)

Fuck you madly!
What is this local time?
Give me absolute GMT time!

Re:stupid snow storms (1)

digismack (262459) | more than 9 years ago | (#11068880)

Will the shower be easily seen from the southern caribbeans? (Curacao, in particular)

I for one (1)

eobanb (823187) | more than 9 years ago | (#11066748)

I for one welcome our apocalyptic overlords.

Where's Bruce Willis?

Re:I for one (1)

Man in Spandex (775950) | more than 9 years ago | (#11067092)

Filming in Die Hard 4.0 [imdb.com]

Naked eyes and/or binoculars... (5, Insightful)

datastalker (775227) | more than 9 years ago | (#11066753)

Remember kids, for best viewing experience, just lie on the ground facing up - most of this can be seen with the naked eyes. If you want to try binoculars, that might work as well - but telescopes are not needed for this one. If someone had told me that the first time I went out to look, I wouldn't have wasted those first two hours wondering why I couldn't see anything. ;)

Re:Naked eyes and/or binoculars... (5, Informative)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 9 years ago | (#11066778)

Binoculars not only dont help, they hurt. Telescopes even more...
You need to be able to watch as much of the sky as possibly... the small aperture of any maginification device will only cause you to muss most of the events...

Re:Naked eyes and/or binoculars... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11067345)

The event is also covered/reported at http://www.astronomydaily.com/ [astronomydaily.com]

Meteor Shower? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11066754)

Sounds painful, I'll stick with the more traditional water based shower thanks.

Re:Meteor Shower? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11067103)

Who are you kidding? You're on slashdot. When was the last time you showered? Last week? It was probably painful then too due to the scalding hot water!

Re:Meteor Shower? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11067200)


Meteor Shower? (Score:4, Funny) [slashdot.org]
by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 12, @12:01PM (#11066754)
Sounds painful, I'll stick with the more traditional water based shower thanks.


What if the water that isn't wet.

Re:Meteor Shower? (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 9 years ago | (#11067217)

Personally, I'd rather have a meteor shower than a hailstorm.

Re:Meteor Shower? (1)

Barryke (772876) | more than 9 years ago | (#11067554)

The sonic shower rocks.

Light pollution (5, Insightful)

FiReaNGeL (312636) | more than 9 years ago | (#11066774)

I sure love meteor showers (as everyone does I guess; I mean, free wishes!), but observing them in non-light polluted areas [inquinamentoluminoso.it] ain't easy. You have to get out of town, and even then, finding a 100% dark place is an adventure nowadays.

Indeed... (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 9 years ago | (#11066829)

However, we got out far enough in the country last night for a party that we got to see about 20-30 events before getting in the car to head home. It simply rocked. Hoping to get out somewhere in the countryside again tomorrow night to try and catch more of them.

Re:Light pollution (1)

mat catastrophe (105256) | more than 9 years ago | (#11066849)

I reckon you are assuming that all of us here are city folk, then ain't ya?

I live in an area so dark at night the lightning bugs wake us up in the springtime.

Damn them critters.

Re:Light pollution (2, Interesting)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 9 years ago | (#11067012)

At least you still have them. Thirty years ago, we would get swarms of thousands upon thousands of them. But I read that they need low-hanging shrubs and bushes and the like to reproduce, and since so much of my area has been built up in the past few decades you hardly ever see lightning bugs any more. Too bad, they really are a neat adaptation. As a kid I would collect them in a bottle and watch them blink by my bedside all night, and let them go in the morning.

Quite a few years ago I went up to Rhinelander, WI to visit some friends. They lived on a ten acre spread (heavily forested) out in the middle of nowhere. It was incredibly dark and quiet at night: I hadn't realized just how much light and sound is generated populated areas that you don't even notice until it isn't there. I have to admit, I got a better night's sleep than I'd had in years.

Re:Light pollution (2, Interesting)

ztirffritz (754606) | more than 9 years ago | (#11066938)

The best stargazing I've ever done was after helping a friend build a tent platform on Blewitt Pass in Washington state. I saw so many stars I thought my eyes were broken. I now unerstand why we were building a tent platform and not a cabin. I developed a whole new appreciation for star gazing. I still don't get the whole constellations naming thing. I don't see the pictures nor do I see the appeal.

Re:Light pollution (4, Insightful)

Cecil (37810) | more than 9 years ago | (#11067240)

I still don't get the whole constellations naming thing. I don't see the pictures nor do I see the appeal.

The reason we still bother having constellations today is because they provide an easy way of mapping the sky in your head (at least once you get to know them). It's the similar to the way saying something is in Northern Canada gives you a better idea of where it is than saying something is at 61.297 N 112.883 W, even though the former is completely arbitrary.

Re:Light pollution (1)

Tribbin (565963) | more than 9 years ago | (#11067035)

I'd wish for more meteor showers so I get even more wishes.

Re:Light pollution (1)

ajs (35943) | more than 9 years ago | (#11067571)

Does anyone know of a good, high-resolution light pollution map? That would really help. In N.E., the best place to go is usually Vermont or Maine, with some decent viewing in the less touristy / highway-laced portions of western MA and northern NH.

Woefully, for this shower, NE is going to be cloudy :-(

Re:Light pollution (1)

Qrlx (258924) | more than 9 years ago | (#11068741)

I have a question about the map you linked to

http://www.inquinamentoluminoso.it/download/mond o_ ridotto0p25.gif

Are the Falklands Islands (or Maldives if you prefer) really that bright? They appear to be the most light-polluted spot in South America and that just seems odd to me. Perhaps it is an optical illusion of the projection used in the map.

This is way off topic, but... (1)

SynapseLapse (644398) | more than 9 years ago | (#11066786)

It was interesting looking at the 01, 02, and 03 posts just to see how much the /. community has grown since then.

Re:This is way off topic, but... (1)

Tribbin (565963) | more than 9 years ago | (#11067050)

Yeah, I remember way back when user #644398 was still to subscribe.

Good ol' times.

Re:This is way off topic, but... (1)

Denis Lemire (27713) | more than 9 years ago | (#11067560)

Indeed, and I remember when #565963 was still to subscribe. ;)

Re:This is way off topic, but... (1)

SynapseLapse (644398) | more than 9 years ago | (#11067591)

*I* remember surfing the web on a 2400 baud modem dialed into a Unix terminal session and pulling stuff off usenet. People had bad grammar back then too. (j/k)

where is it visible? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11066805)

I live in the uk, near London. Will I be able to see it?

Re:where is it visible? (1)

lecithin (745575) | more than 9 years ago | (#11067025)

depends on the weather. If you have clear skies, you should be able to see some meteors. Quote from article:

According to McBeath, the Geminids are predicted to reach peak activity on Monday at 22:20 GMT, which is 5:20 p.m. EST. Locations from Europe and North Africa east to central Russian and Chinese longitudes are in the best position to catch the very crest of the shower, when the rates conceivably could exceed 120 per hour, or two every minute.

Re:where is it visible? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11067057)

I did read the article...well skimmed it. Thanks for pointing this out.

Re:where is it visible? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11067044)

No, the meteors are reserved only for the god fearing people of America.

Re:where is it visible? (1)

M1FCJ (586251) | more than 9 years ago | (#11068873)

I live near Cambridge. Checking ForecastFox it guesstimates it will be a partly-cloudy here. Still, I live a little away from a small town, you are in the city. You will be able to see it but probably will have to get to a dark park. Beware of the perverts.

"all over the world" (1)

spdt (828671) | more than 9 years ago | (#11069117)

From PhysOrg:
Note: This story is written for northern-hemisphere observers, but Geminids are visible all over the world.

Shower? (1, Funny)

daniil (775990) | more than 9 years ago | (#11066813)

OK, you bastards. Who forgot to turn off the tap?

Clouds (2, Funny)

Flying Purple Wombat (787087) | more than 9 years ago | (#11066822)

Weather forecast calls for clouds, rain and snow for the next 2-3 days. :-(

Why can't they schedule these things for clear nights?

THIS is as close as geeks get to bathing (-1, Offtopic)

RLiegh (247921) | more than 9 years ago | (#11066825)

am i rite?

Re:THIS is as close as geeks get to bathing (2, Funny)

daniil (775990) | more than 9 years ago | (#11066876)

I think you meant it's as close as they get to sunbathing. The closest they get to _bathing_ is the water pipe running along the basement wall.

True dat (1)

RLiegh (247921) | more than 9 years ago | (#11066896)

kekeke

Re:THIS is as close as geeks get to bathing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11067019)

am i rite?

Diet rite!

Just imagine.... (1)

PHalanKS (687855) | more than 9 years ago | (#11067380)

a beowulf cluster of those...

Shower, take two (this time, it's funny, i swear!) (3, Funny)

daniil (775990) | more than 9 years ago | (#11066828)

This shower was also covered by Slashdot in 2003, 2002, and 2001.

It's been running for three years? Which one of you bastards forgot to turn off the tap?

Re:Shower, take two (this time, it's funny, i swea (1)

back_pages (600753) | more than 9 years ago | (#11068236)

Oh, good one. I read that sentence and thought, "Great, now the editors are calling 'DUPE' in the blurbs but still post it!"

Meteor scatter (4, Interesting)

latroM (652152) | more than 9 years ago | (#11066843)

Meteor showers used by radio amateurs for meteor scatter [meteorscatter.net] . Basically they point their beams at the meteor shower when it hits earth and have long distance QSOs (radio amateur contacts) by bouncing their signal from the rocks.

Re:Meteor scatter (4, Informative)

Flying Purple Wombat (787087) | more than 9 years ago | (#11066947)

The signals are actually reflected from the trails of ionized gas created by the rocks burning up in the atmosphere. The rocks themselves are far too small to be useful reflectors.

Re:Meteor scatter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11067055)

Looking forward to work many amateur stations in this shower. Needless to say that as a real ham I am only using HSCW (Highspeed Telegraphy), not WSJT or other digital apeshit.

Re:Meteor scatter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11067550)

The signals don't bounce off the rocks. The signals bounce off the ionosphere, which extends much further up due to the increased ion content up there. Thus the signals can bounce farther from further up. I like to work distance right after a good midwestern thunderstorm, too.

Ham radio gear not required (4, Interesting)

w9wi (162482) | more than 9 years ago | (#11067559)

It may be possible to observe the radio effects of the meteor shower without being a ham or having an extensive station.

Regular FM radio and TV broadcasts are also reflected by the ionized trails.

Try tuning to an empty channel, as low on the dial as possible. Of course, for TV you'll need a set with a regular antenna, not cable or satellite. For FM, your car radio is probably the best radio you own for this purpose.

Sit there and listen/watch. You should see/hear brief bursts of signal. If you're really lucky, you'll hear something that will allow you to identify the station you saw/heard.

Might be something interesting to listen to while you're waiting for visible meteors -- or for the clouds to go away...

A meteor shower, eh? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11066847)

So you mean it wasn't bird poop?

urgent questions (1)

DJCF (805487) | more than 9 years ago | (#11066855)

After missing Perseids (DAMN BRITISH WEATHER!) I really wanna see this one. Questions:

  • They say Dec 13th. As I write this it's 5PM, Dec 12th. They also say early morning is the best time. Do they mean early-morning Dec 13th, in 7 hours time - or early morning Dec 14th, in 31 hours time? (More likely IMO).
  • Secondly, I live in Somerset, UK. Will I see anything?


Thanks!

Re:urgent questions (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11066997)

TFA no. 2 says "According to McBeath, the Geminids are predicted to reach peak activity on Monday at 22:20 GMT"

Re:urgent questions (1)

lecithin (745575) | more than 9 years ago | (#11067014)

Quote from article:

According to McBeath, the Geminids are predicted to reach peak activity on Monday at 22:20 GMT, which is 5:20 p.m. EST. Locations from Europe and North Africa east to central Russian and Chinese longitudes are in the best position to catch the very crest of the shower, when the rates conceivably could exceed 120 per hour, or two every minute.

Re:urgent questions (1)

rangefinder (836739) | more than 9 years ago | (#11067104)

The shower's peak is on Monday evening at 22:20 GMT. That is 10:20 P.M. where you are, and 5:20 P.M. over here. It's worth looking before and after this time, however, by hours or even a day or two. Technically the best time to watch any meteor shower in general is at midnight.
The Geminids are visible from the entire planet, I believe, although the northern hemisphere is favoured. You should see them.
I live in the country but Ontario may be cloud covered on Monday night/Tuesday morning. If not, I plan on setting up a few cameras and seeing what I can catch on film.

Can I see them in Somerset? (2, Informative)

Limax Maximus (640354) | more than 9 years ago | (#11067792)

I saw several Meteors between 11pm last night and 2am this morning on the North Wales coast while doing some field work on some lagoons there (don't ask, Ok). It was certainly the best view of meteors I have had made even better by seeing some reflections of them in the pools. In Somerset you will certainly be able to see them unless you're: a) in a town centre b) standing below a street light c) It's cloudy (Yes, I know someone who spent hours looking on a cloudy night) d) blind e) unlucky It might take a while and don't expect to see one in 5 minutes - I was lucky last night as I'd forgotten about it until I saw a streak across the sky and started to look. I was also unlucky as my welly leaked and it wasn't all that warm last night... Limax Max (a geek who gets out - almost)

Re:urgent questions (1)

spiny (87740) | more than 9 years ago | (#11068457)

head up to the Mendips, hardly any light pollution there if you stay a few miles away from the radio transmitters.

Monday night UK time is best apparently

Re:urgent questions (1)

M1FCJ (586251) | more than 9 years ago | (#11068908)

Unless it is explicitly for american people, usually times given in astronomical magazines or web pages are for UT. Luck helps us, UT is GMT unless it is BST, then we are UT-1.

Get a deck chair and a thick blanket. Go to a park. Sit down and start watching. Hot coffee will help. You don't need any more equipment for a meteor shower. And patience. And luck. Having two people or more helps because you can cover a greater portion of the sky and alert each other for fireballs.

If you have an old-type film camera, put it on top of a tripod and set it to Bulb mode (in most cameras marked as B). If it is really old, take the battery out, they will function without any power (Mitra, I love these old Prakticas and Zenits). Point it towards gemini or zenith, if you don't know where gemini is. Leave it for 15-20 minutes running, aperture around f/2-3. Move to a new frame after the period is finished. The chances are you will capture more than a couple of shots. if you leave it pointed to Gemini, the shots will be more spectacular.

Now, this is all assuming the weather will behave itself. ForecastFox doesn't tell me good things for Cambridge. :-)

I'd love to, but... (1)

Eggplant62 (120514) | more than 9 years ago | (#11066877)

We're socked in with nothing but clouds now for the last three days straight. I look like Jack Nicholson in 'The Shining,' and my paranoia has the best of me right now. Say "hello" to Mr. Seasonal Affective Disorder.

damn movies (1)

joe six pack walmart (690952) | more than 9 years ago | (#11066909)

Run for your life! Bruce Willis says he isnt going to save us this time.

THE END IS NEAR! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11066924)

Repent sinners.

THE END IS *NIGH*! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11066936)

You fool. Bring out your dead.

Horoscopics (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#11066927)

This is news? This meteor storm happens every year, for millions of years! What next, a "fusion breakthrough" story about the mass of incandescent gas rising above the horizon every morning? ... OK, kidding: I love the announcements of astrophysical displays appearing on Slashdot. It's like "Weather for Nerds" in our little chromium-oxide rag. Maybe I've had too much holiday cheer, and am getting in touch with my inner Grinch.

The reason why it's news (1)

daniil (775990) | more than 9 years ago | (#11066967)

If a tree falls in the woods and noone's there to hear it fall, will it still make noise? If the Earth moves through the Geminid stream and noone reports on it, will there still be a meteor shower?

Re:The reason why it's news (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#11067138)

Meteors intercept the Earth's atmosphere without human witnesses, but aren't a "shower" without us. Trees make noise alone in the woods, but not sound - that's the sound of one hand clapping.

oh shut up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11068913)

wah wah, you're such a fucking nerd elitist. guess what, nerdio - you're still a loser, no matter how much you try to imagine people below you.

Early morning where? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11066959)

"Early morning is the best time..." But from which bit of the planet? USA, presumably.

Ob. Simpsons Quote (1)

Zorilla (791636) | more than 9 years ago | (#11067004)

Brockman: (Wearing tons of gold jewelery after Old Springfield discovers gold in dry river) "Thanks to the people in New Springfield, we'll all be taking golden showers!"

(Studio crew busts up)

Brockman: "......what?"

Re:Ob. Simpsons Quote (1)

eMartin (210973) | more than 9 years ago | (#11067125)

Speaking of golden showers, here's a video this crowd might enjoy:

Video Computer System by Golden Shower

Kind of old, but definitely a classic.

Link (1)

eMartin (210973) | more than 9 years ago | (#11067137)

Why do I keep screwing up links here?

Video Computer System by Golden Shower [newvenue.com]

Re:Link (1)

Zorilla (791636) | more than 9 years ago | (#11067433)

That....is....the....coolest.....thing I've ever seen.

(At least this week)

What a coincidence (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11067011)

CmdrTaco's golden shower is expected to peak at the same time.

What would Homer Simpson do? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11067029)

What would Homer Simpson do if he found about this news in Springfield? Be creative! Best reply gets +2 Karma Points... Good Luck!

Some meteors already visible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11067048)

I was out walking the dog last night and saw four meteors in the several minutes I was outside. If it weren't for the fact that I live with a lot of light pollution from Dallas I probably would have seen some more. The skies were very clear around here too.

Other Annual Nerd News Events (Funny, dammit) (2, Funny)

YankeeInExile (577704) | more than 9 years ago | (#11067056)

Remember, in a few weeks, the year number will increment for all users of the Gregorian calendar.

You read it here on /. first! Warn all your friends -- don't be one of those saps still writing 2004 on your checks come next January!

Re:Other Annual Nerd News Events (Funny, dammit) (1)

ChuckleBug (5201) | more than 9 years ago | (#11067686)

As Firesign Theater once said:

News Announcer: "Big light in sky slated to appear in East."

Re:Other Annual Nerd News Events (Funny, dammit) (1)

rhild (659603) | more than 9 years ago | (#11067955)

As any true techo-nerd, I haven't written a check in years, what with online banking and bill paying, so I have one less reason to remember what year it is.

/.'ed already? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11067060)

From space.com

If you were disappointed with the meager showing put on by this year's Leonid meteor shower, don't fret. What could be the best meteor display of the year is scheduled to reach its peak on Monday night, Dec. 13.

Skywatchers with dark skies away from city lights could see one or two meteors every minute during the Geminid meteor shower. The greatest activity is expected to be visible from North America, Europe and Africa.

The Geminids get their name from the constellation of Gemini, the Twins. On the night of this shower's maximum, the meteors will appear to emanate from a spot in the sky near the bright star Castor in Gemini. [Sky Map ]

Typically strong

The Geminid meteors are usually the most satisfying of all the annual showers, even surpassing the famous Perseids of August. Studies of past displays show that this shower has a reputation for being rich both in slow, bright, graceful meteors and fireballs as well as faint meteors, with relatively fewer objects of medium brightness.

Geminids typically encounter Earth at 22 miles per second (35 kilometers per second), roughly half the speed of a Leonid meteor. Many Geminids are yellowish in hue. Some even appear to form jagged or divided paths.

The Earth moves quickly through this meteor stream. Rates increase steadily for two or three days before maximum. So over the weekend, viewers between midnight and dawn might see a shooting star every few minutes. The number of meteors drops off sharply after the peak. Renegade forerunners and late stragglers might be seen for a week or more before and after maximum.

Ideal conditions

The Geminids perform excellently in any year, but British meteor astronomer Alastair McBeath has expects a "superb year" in 2004. Last year's display was seriously compromised by bright moonlight, when a bright gibbous Moon came up over the horizon during the late evening hours and washed-out many of the fainter Geminid streaks.

But this year, the Moon will be at New phase Dec. 11. On the peak night, the Moon will be a skinny crescent, low in the west-southwest at dusk and setting before 6 p.m. That means the sky will be dark and moonless for the balance of the night, making for perfect viewing conditions.

According to McBeath, the Geminids are predicted to reach peak activity on Monday at 22:20 GMT, which is 5:20 p.m. EST. Locations from Europe and North Africa east to central Russian and Chinese longitudes are in the best position to catch the very crest of the shower, when the rates conceivably could exceed 120 per hour, or two every minute. [Predictions for Select Cities]

Maximum rates persist at only marginally reduced levels for some 6 to 10 hours, McBeath says, so other places, such as North America, should enjoy some fine Geminid activity as well.

When to watch

Indeed, under normal conditions on the night of maximum activity, with ideal dark-sky conditions, at least 60 to 120 Geminid meteors can be expected to burst across the sky every hour on the average. Light pollution greatly cuts the numbers, so city and suburban dwellers will see far fewer.

Generally speaking, depending on your location, Gemini begins to come up above the east-northeast horizon right around the time evening twilight is coming to an end. So you might catch sight of a few early Geminids as soon as the sky gets dark. There is a fair chance of perhaps catching sight of some "Earth-grazing" meteors.

Earthgrazers are long, bright shooting stars that streak overhead from a point near to even just below the horizon. Such meteors are so distinctive because they follow long paths nearly parallel to our atmosphere.

Jimmy Westlake imaged this Geminid in 1985. Click to enlarge it. More about the image below.

The Geminids begin to appear noticeably more numerous in the hours after 10 p.m. local time Monday, because the shower's radiant is already fairly high in the eastern sky by then. The best views, however, come around 2 a.m. Tuesday, when their radiant point will be passing very nearly overhead. The higher a shower's radiant, the more meteors it produces all over the sky.

How to prepare

This time of year, meteor watching can be a long, cold business. The late Henry Neely, who for many years served as a lecturer at New York's Hayden Planetarium, once had this to say about watching for the Geminids: "Take the advice of a man whose teeth have chattered on many a winter's night - wrap up much more warmly than you think is necessary."

Hot cocoa or coffee can take the edge off the chill, as well as provide a slight stimulus. It's even better if you can observe with friends. That way, you can keep each other awake, as well as cover more sky.

Give your eyes 15 minutes or more to adapt to the darkness before getting serious about meteor watching. And have something comfortable to sit on; a lounge chair will allow you to stare up for long periods without straining your neck.

Geminids stand apart from the other meteor showers in that they seem to have been spawned not by a comet, but by 3200 Phaeton, an Earth-crossing asteroid. Then again, the Geminids may be comet debris after all, for some astronomers consider Phaeton to really be the dead nucleus of a burned-out comet that somehow got trapped into an unusually tight orbit.

* How Meteor Showers Work
* Meteor Watching Tips
* The Power of a Shooting Star

Geminid Forecast for Select Cities

Meteor showers are notoriously difficult to predict, but the Geminids are relatively reliable. In addition to the Monday night peak, Sunday night could provide a good show. This chart shows expected rates of meteors every 15 minutes for select locations. However, these rates won't actually be visible from cities, due to urban lighting. CLICK TO ENLARGE

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Joe Rao serves as an instructor and guest lecturer at New York's Hayden Planetarium. He writes about astronomy for The New York Times and other publications, and he is also an on-camera meteorologist for News 12 Westchester, New York.

From Jimmy Westlake:

"Back in 1985, I was teaching and directing the Rollins Planetarium at Young Harris College at the base of Georgia's highest mountain peak, Brasstown Bald (Yes, Georgia has mountains!).

"The 4784-foot mountain often served as my private observation spot at night, as it did on the night of December 13-14, 1985 during the Geminid meteor shower. I aimed my tripod-mounted Nikon FE-2 camera toward the celestial pole and stopped down the lens to f5.6 for a 60-minute exposure. Several meteors flashed by during the hour, but none were bright enough to record at f5.6.Two airplanes, headed for parts unknown, left their silent trails across the film. The silhouette of the tower housing the Information Visitors Center and observation deck is visible atop the peak, 200 feet above me.

"After the hour-long exposure, I placed my gloved hand over the 50 mm lens, carefully opened the aperture ring to f1.8, and waited for 5 minutes. I then removed my hand from in front of the lens for a final 30 second exposure to punctuate each star trail with a bright dot. As fate would have it, during that 30-second interval, the brightest Geminid fireball of the night shot right across the center of the image! My main concern was not bumping the tripod as I jumped up and down in excitement!

"The result, as you can see, is a striking portrait of a Geminid meteor."

Early morning? Hah! (1)

NeoSkandranon (515696) | more than 9 years ago | (#11067069)

Perhaps I'll see a streak or two as I'm trudging to my Statistics for Engineers exam at 0645 AM or so.

Two years ago I stayed out till 4am or so watching Leonids, they were cool but the display was dissapointing (even tho skys were clear) compared to how much they had been hyped as having a huge turnout that year. Would probably stay out and look for these but that exam...

Re:Early morning? Hah! (1)

NeoSkandranon (515696) | more than 9 years ago | (#11067082)

and yes i do realize that 0645 am is redundant. damn "preview before posting"...

In other news... (1)

Tribbin (565963) | more than 9 years ago | (#11067080)

President Bush is initiating plans to build a meteor-shower protection shield above China... with modular extension capabilities for later optional purposes.

hmm... interesting (1)

SamuelGoldstein (838700) | more than 9 years ago | (#11067090)

hm... interesting. i love to see that.

You shouldnt regard this as a dupe (1)

ApowVX (735791) | more than 9 years ago | (#11067257)

Most people see this article as a dupe, but I as a new poster & young adult (only 20 years old) didnt know this was a recurring meteor shower, and was welcomed by the newspost, as I'm currently making plans to go and see it. Don't pass off yearly events so easily cause you already know of it, most people unfortunately dont.

For those in Southern California who want dark... (2, Interesting)

The Master Control P (655590) | more than 9 years ago | (#11067587)

Go to Mt. Pinos. If you live around the LA area, just hop on the I-5 north. Keep going until you get to a sign that says "Frazier Park" and turn off. Then head past the gas stations and keep on going straight. You'll pass through town, into the hills (with lots of little country homes) and finally into the winding road that goes up Mount Pinos. As you go up the windy little road, you'll notice little signs on the right side of the road that have numbers on them... The road ends at 13.50.

When you arrive, the view is just breathtaking. Every constellation clearly visible. The end of the road is a large, cleared parking area ringed by trees up to about 20 degrees elevation. And it's definetly Geminid season... I saw about 10 or 12 meteors in the occasional times I looked up over about 3 hours.

Come heavily dressed (hits freezing before midnight): I find that two shirts and a jacket plus sweat pants and windbreaker pants will keep you warm for about 3-4 hours.

To get an idea of the weather, use the Mt. Pinos Dark Sky Clock [philharrington.net] .

Come on over. :) (2, Interesting)

Shag (3737) | more than 9 years ago | (#11067721)

A bunch of us hardy souls will doubtless be at the Mauna Kea Visitor Information Station [hawaii.edu] at 9200 feet, watching.

(I'd watch from the summit [hawaii.edu] but it's gonna be colder up there.)

The most convenient airports are ITO and KOA in that order. :)

Minnesota? (1)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | more than 9 years ago | (#11067814)

Ok, I'm a college student in Minneapolis, and personally, I think this is a GREAT opportunity for a romantic hookup. (Whats this? A slashdotter hooking up?!)

But what I want to know is, where near Minneapolis (less than 30 min. drive preferably) can I go to see this clearly? I mean, I'd feel like a retard if we drove out there and then its like, whoops, no meteor shower.

Also, whats the best time to drive out to watch?

upcoming? December 13th?? (1)

corbettw (214229) | more than 9 years ago | (#11068035)

OK, is it just me, or does the word "upcoming" seem to imply enough time to actually plan to watch this? I mean, if it peaks tomorrow that's not much advance notice, now is it?

Though maybe the submitter sent in the article last week, and Taco just didn't get around to publishing it until today. Let's check the original article....

The best meteor shower of 2004 peaks on Dec. 13th

December 10, 2004


Yeah, three days is enough notice to clear a schedule. Thirteen hours ain't. Thanks for nuthin, Commander.

seattle/WA area? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11068108)

will it be visible in the seattle, WA area and around what time?

Prediction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11068774)

I predict this story will also be covered in 2005, 2006, 2007, and twice in 2008. That will be the last one though, since the second Geminid story for 2008 will be "Killer Asteroid Hidden in Geminid Shower".

light pollution? (1)

sootman (158191) | more than 9 years ago | (#11069417)

so, living on the south edge of a good-sized city... any chance of me seeing this, or should I drive out to the sticks that night?

ahhhhhhhh that explains what i saw last night :) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11069726)

must have been a pretty big meteorite, i saw it comming down with a main white body and lots of sparkly particles comming off and it was about 1/2 the size of the moon from my vantage point... I was thinking it was a plane that blew up or something nasty like that for a while after I saw it :)
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