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12/13/2021 – Ephemeris – The Geminid Meteor Shower reaches its peak tomorrow morning

December 13, 2021 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Monday, December 13th. Today the Sun will be up for 8 hours and 50 minutes, setting at 5:02, and it will rise tomorrow at 8:12. The Moon, 3 days past first quarter, will set at 3:41 tomorrow morning.

Tomorrow morning we will have the chance to see near the peak of the Geminid meteor shower after the Moon sets. Some of its members can be seen tonight, in the bright moonlight. This shower is currently besting the Perseid meteor shower of August, with a predicted 120 meteors per hour tomorrow morning. The problems for us in viewing this fabulous shower, beside the bright Moon this year, are the cold temperatures and usually cloudy skies. The source of the Geminids was discovered in 1983. It is a probably burnt out comet with the asteroid designation 3200 Phaethon, which swoops down to only 13 million miles of the Sun. Some call it a rock comet. The Geminids were first seen in 1862.

The astronomical event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan (EST, UT – 5 hours). They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Geminids radiant finder

An all sky view at 4 am, December 14th, 2021, showing the radiant for the Geminid meteor shower. The meteors will be seen all over the sky. Their trails, however, can be traced back to their radiant. The radiant is marked on the chart as GemR, near the star Castor in Gemini. The sky at that hour is that of the evening sky of early spring. Created using my LookingUp program.

For a list of constellation names to go with the abbreviations, click here.

  • Pointer stars at the front of the bowl of the Big Dipper point to Polaris, the North Star.
  • Follow the arc of the handle of the Big Dipper to the star Arcturus, then
  • Follow the spike to Spica.