Wednesday 14 December 2011

Geminid Fireball

Last night the wind was howling in, a bitter southwesterly liver slicer, that frankly made the idea of astronomical observing rather unattractive compared to stuffing yourself with tea and biscuits. The high waning moon in Gemini near the radiant made meteor watching seem an unrewarding prospect as well, so aside from the odd peak outside, I stayed in and I drank tea and stuffed myself with biscuits.

But at 0045 I stuck my head out again, and immediately was rewarded for my lack of persistence by the sight of a glorious fireball heading north through the bleak badlands beyond the pole star towards the northern horizon. Easily brighter than Venus, I'd put it at mag -5, and it was a sort of copper flame green colour, and was emitting pink "sparks" as it burnt up. It was that pretty I told my girlfriend I ought to have hung it around her neck.

Fortified with a strong rum and coke, I had a more determined watch for half an hour or so at about 3am, but the moon was virtually overhead, and I only saw one meteor of about mag zero in this period - I don't have great skies either so I was double hampered.

Will try again tonight in patches. But my god, wrap up warm. It's turn your hands purple weather.

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