SIGHTINGS: Would you like a call when the
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Got clouds? If you can't see this weekend's Geminid
meteor shower, try listening instead. The US Air Force
Space Surveillance Radar is scanning the skies above Texas,
and when a meteor passes overhead--ping!--there is an echo.
Tune into Spaceweather
Radio for live audio.
The Geminid meteor shower is intensifying.
According to the International Meteor Organization, dark-sky
observers are now
counting 40+ meteors per hour. "The Geminids were
pretty active last night (Dec. 12/13)," reports Pete
Lawrence of Selsey, UK. "Here's one I caught on camera
zipping past the star Alpha Hydrae."
Martin McKenna reports from Maghera, Northern Ireland: "I
did a visual watch between 03.20 and 06.20 local time on Dec.
13th and saw 157 meteors of which 135 were Geminids. I saw
57 Geminids in the first hour and my first sight of the session
was 3 Geminids in 2 seconds. Many of them fell in triplets.
I can't wait to see the peak!"
Indeed, the best is yet to come. Forecasters expect rates
to double or more during the next 24 hours. The best time
to look is between 10 pm local time on Sunday night (Dec.
13) and sunrise on Monday morning (Dec. 14). Get the full
story from Science@NASA.
map] [meteor radar]
AFTER THE STORM:
Last week, a powerful blizzard paralyzed parts of the US midwest.
Mike Hollingshead of Blair, Nebraska, walked outside after
the storm and this is what he saw:
Sunlight shining through ice crystals had produced a bright
pair of sundogs
and a vivid circumzenithal
arc. "These tend to appear on the backside of a storm's
clearing line as ice crystals blow through the air,"
notes Hollingshead. "It's a beautiful sight but not a
ton of fun to photograph at 5o F with winds blowing
Photographers, bundle up! More weather is on the way and
there should be plenty to see after
Northern Lights Gallery
[previous Decembers: 2008,
the Sunspot Cycle