Saturday, November 18, 2006

Leonids vs. Geminids

Thinking about trying to see some meteors tonight? Don't bother--despite the press about the Leonids (which are spectacular when they are at storm levels), they are normally a rather plain meteor shower. Bundle your blankets, grab your thermal underwear, and wait for the Geminids, a meteor shower on Dec 14th. They are reliably the second best meteor shower annually, just behind the Perseids, which we all love since it's in mid-August. Just get out of town away from light pollution, or otherwise you will be wasting your sky-viewing.

The neat thing about the Geminids is they appear to come from an asteroid-- (3200) Phaeton, rather than a known comet. The simple implication is that Phaeton is just a dead comet, a dehydrated pebble pile.

2 comments:

Steven said...

And on the 14th you and I will conveniently be located in the dark skies of Arizona.

Dean W. Armstrong said...

I should note this is the night of the 13th, morning of the 14th.