Archive for December 12, 2019

12/12/2019 – Ephemeris – Previewing the Geminids this weekend

December 12, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, December 12th. Today the Sun will be up for 8 hours and 51 minutes, setting at 5:02, and it will rise tomorrow at 8:11. The Moon, at full today, will rise at 5:38 this evening.

This upcoming weekend is the weekend of the greatest annual meteor shower of the year. They’re the Geminids. I confess to never having seen a Geminid. The reason is that it’s generally too cloudy, and for me too cold and this year is another problem, a bright Moon. In dark skies they have a 120 per hour peak, when the radiant point in Gemini is overhead. The body that was discovered to produce these meteors doesn’t appear to be a comet. It is designated as an asteroid 3200 Phaethon. Phaethon gets extremely close to the sun at 13 million miles (21 million km) and one of the STEREO Sun monitoring satellites caught it developing a tail when close to the Sun. Phaethon may then be the first known rock comet. I’ll have more on it tomorrow. (12/08/2014)

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.


Eastern sky for Geminids

Eastern sky for Geminids at 10 p.m. December 13, 2019. On the 14th the Moon will be the same distance from Pollux but below it. Remember that the Geminid meteors will be seen all over the sky. It might help to hide the moon behind a building so as to better see the brighter meteors. Created using Stellarium.

Geminid Orbits

Orbits of Fireballs on the night of December 13-14 as recorded by NASA’s All Sky Cameras six years ago. The preponderance of fireballs in yellow (bright meteors) are Geminids. These are published daily on Credit: NASA and