Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Make ur early Christmas wishes at the METEOR SHOWER in 2011! Tonight!

Among annual major meteor showers, the year’s grand finale is the Geminids in December. It often produces a rich display. In 2011, the moon interferes.The most reliable meteor shower of the year, the Geminids are characterized by their multi-colored display--65% being white, 26% yellow, and the remaining 9% blue, red and green. They come in at a moderate speed of 21.75 miles per second, therefore they are bright and often produce fireballs. They radiate point is near Gemini’s bright twins, Castor and Pollux.
The final big meteor shower of 2011 is nearly upon us. It’s the Geminid meteor shower, peaking on the nights of December 13 and 14. Here’s what you need to know.

December 13 and 14, 2011 Geminids
The final major meteor shower of every year (unless one surprises us!) is always the December Geminid shower. It is a beloved shower, because, as a general rule, it’s either the August Perseids or the December Geminids that give us the most prolific display of the year. In 2011, moonlight interferes with both the Perseids and the Geminids. Darn it! The moon has been in the way for nearly every major shower for the past several months. The peak nights for the Geminids will be December 13 and 14. The moon will be in a waning gibbous phase in 2011 during the shower’s peak. That means the moon will rise in mid-evening and shine all the way until daybreak. So 2011 does not provide optimum conditions for watching the Geminids, the year’s grand finale for the major meteor showers. But you should watch anyway if – like many people – you enjoy catching sight of just a few meteors streaking along in bright moonlight. Unlike many meteor showers, you can usually start watching the Geminids by 9 or 10 p.m. On a dark, moonless night, the Geminid meteor shower often produces 50 or more meteors per hour. You’ll see fewer this year, because of the moon. The best viewing of these often bright, medium-speed meteors should be after midnight on the mornings of December 14 and 15, but the bright moon will decrease the number of Geminid meteors you’ll see in 2011.

Weather forecast for Malaysia: weather forecast tonight: Scattered thunderstorms. Low around 75F. Winds light and variable. Chance of rain 60%
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Tips for watching meteors

Most important: a dark sky.
Here’s the first thing – the main thing – you need to know to become as proficient as the experts at watching meteors. That is, to watch meteors, you need a dark sky.

Know your dates and times. You also need to be looking on the right date, at the right time of night. Meteor showers occur over a range of dates, because they stem from Earth’s own movement through space. As we orbit the sun, we cross “meteor streams.” These streams of icy particles in space come from comets moving in orbit around the sun. Comets are fragile icy bodies that litter their orbits with debris. When this cometary debris enters our atmosphere, it vaporizes due to friction with the air. If moonlight or city lights don’t obscure the view, we on Earth see the falling, vaporizing particles as meteors.

What to bring. You can comfortably watch meteors from many places, assuming you have a dark sky: your back yard or deck, the hood of your car, the side of a road. If you want to bring along equipment to make yourself more comfortable, consider a blanket or reclining lawn chair, a thermos with a hot drink, binoculars for gazing along the pathway of the summer Milky Way. Be sure to dress warmly enough. Even the summer nights can be chilly, especially in the hours before dawn when the most meteors should be flying.

Are the predictions reliable?
Although astronomers have tried to publish exact predictions in recent years, meteor showers remain notoriously unpredictable. Your best bet is to go outside at the times we suggest, and plan to spend at least an hour reclining comfortably while looking up at the sky.

In 2011, the moon gets in the way of the April Lyrids, August Perseids, October Draconids, October Orionids, November North Taurids, November Leonids, and December Geminids. Moon-free nights greet the January Quadrantids, May Eta Aquarids, and July Delta Aquarids. Some moon-free viewing time is in store for the November South Taurids. Our almanac page provides links for access to the moonrise and moonset times in your sky.

Peak dates are derived from data published in the Observer’s Handbook by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada and Guy Ottewell’s Astronomical Calendar.

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1 comment:

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