December 12, 2014 - 8:29 AM
THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - A mix of sun and cloud, low temperatures of only -2 Celsius and a moon in the last quarter may give us just the perfect conditions to take in the peak of the Geminid meteor shower this weekend.
The meteor shower is visible Dec. 4-17 this year but overnight Dec. 13-14 is likely to be the peak of the annual display. The Geminid meteors are considered bright and should be visible even when the quarter moon rises, but may be visible earlier in the evening as well — some skywatchers believe 9-10 p.m. local time is the best time to observe this shower.
During a peak year when moonlight doesn’t obscure your view it is easy to see 50 or more meteors per hour on the peak night but even with the moonlight expected this year a good number of the yellow-coloured meteors should be visible.
To watch the meteors, find a place either facing away from the moon or with trees, a hill or building blocking the moon, where you can view much of the sky. Make sure you are out of town enough that streetlights will not affect your view as well. Grab a blanket to keep warm and lie down or lean back looking upwards. Give yourself about 20-30 minutes for your eyes to adjust and you should begin seeing the meteors.
The Geminid meteor shower appears to radiate from the Gemini constellation and is the result of the Earth crossing paths with the asteroid 3200 Phaethon.
If you are hoping to grab some photos of the meteor shower, here are some tips on night sky photography.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014