Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The sky is falling!

Posted By on Tue, Dec 14, 2010 at 11:09 AM

OK, not really. But, next week does offer a great sky watching opportunity. The Geminid meteor shower will be back for it's annual show. Or, rather, our planet will pass through an asteroid's space debris on our annual trip around the sun.

Astronomers predict Tuesday, between midnight and sunrise, will be the best time to view the meteor shower — though you may spot a few meteors between now and then, too.

It should be easy to spot the roughly 100 light streaks over our area, though you may want to head to more rural areas — and out of the city's light pollution — for the best view.

Here's more from the Associated Press:

The Geminids are actually rocky celestial leftovers. Every December, Earth passes through this stream of debris from 3200 Phaethon, once believed to be an asteroid and now considered an extinct - or iceless - comet. The meteors, or shooting stars, can appear anywhere, but always seem to fall from the Gemini constellation, thus their name.

Meteors occur when bits of particles enter the atmosphere and burn up, resembling incoming fireballs.

Read the entire article, by Marcia Dunn, which includes news about other viewing opportunities and and the Solstice's lunar eclipse, here.

This video offers a close(er)-up view of some of the meteors as they fall to earth:

Rhiannon "Rhi" Bowman is an independent journalist who contributes snarky commentary on Creative Loafing's CLog blog four days a week in addition to writing for several other local media organizations. To learn more, click the links or follow Rhi on Twitter.

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