Thursday 15 December 2011

Last night's Geminid Report

OK, the one man member of the East Notts Astronomical Society (Meteor division) has an extrememly sore, torn, pulled and wrecked buttock and a bit of a cold, so don't expect 6 hours worth of observations. I was watching a documentary about Steve Jobs. However, at about 2045 or so I went out for a fifteen minute observing session when I spied clear skies - occasionally the clouds would roll over for a spell last night - and saw 7 Geminids and one sporadic.

Nothing was as spectacular as the mag -5 fireball I saw the previous night, but the meteors were bright, up to mag zero, slow moving and left smoky trails in some instances. Although other observers were reporting blue or pure white colours, to me they looked an ivory white colour, similar to that of Jupiter. One specimen was a long way off the from the radiant, and followed a somewhat crooked path, almost looking like it was tumbling through Lepus and Eridanus down towards the southern horizon.

At about 11pm, I had a shorter session and saw 5 geminids and one sporadic. As the moon got higher and interfered more, a 0045am session resulted in only two geminids being spotted.

It is interesting to me that The Perseids are regarded as "The Meteor Shower" by the media. For I found the Geminds generally brighter, slower moving, and easier to spot. The radiant is also much better placed for evening observing, although I suppose like lastnight, the viewing conditions vary from cold to brass monkeys!

They certainly seemed easy to spot for casual non astronomical observers I mentioned them to.

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