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The Geminids: Dec. 13-16, 2007
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  Summary: The 2007 Geminid meteor shower, caused by dusty debris from near-Earth asteroid 3200 Phaethon, peaked on Dec. 14th and 15th with 140+ meteors per hour. [full story] [sky map] [IMO recap]
  Photographer, Location Images Comments

Jaroslaw Dygos, Polish Fireball Network,
Czernice Borowe, 100km north of Warsaw, Poland
Dec. 15, 2007
#1, more

"A gorgeous -13 magnitude Geminid fireball was observed last night over Poland. The meteoroid fragmented into 4 pieces and observers heard a sonic boom similar to distant thunder," says Jaroslaw Dygos of the Polish Fireball Network whose CCTV camera recorded the explosion. "Look at the halo around the fireball," he points out. That was caused by meteor-light passing through ice crystals in the clouds--"beautiful!"

Thomas Ashcraft,
New Mexico
Dec. 16, 2007
movie, more

Just as the shower was dying down on Dec. 16th, a strange sound echoed from the loudspeaker of Thomas Ashcraft's radio telescope in New Mexico. "A bright fireball was flying overhead," he says. The sound was a distant TV transmitter reflected from the fireball's ionized trail. He combined footage of the fireball with a recording of the echo to produce this movie. Don't forget to turn up the volume!

Tom A. Warner,
Rapid City, SD, USA
Dec. 12, 2007
#1, more

I captured a bright Geminid fireball on the night of 12/12/07 (12/13/07-0654:51 UT). I had a Astrovid Stellacam EX black and white video camera with Computar 2.6mm f1.0 lens recording the night sky. When I reviewed the video, I was shocked to see the bright meteor. When I showed the video to my wife, she remembered seeing a bright flash that night that lit up the backyard and wondered if there was lightning in the area.

Calvin Hall,
Palmer, Alaska
Dec. 14, 2007
#1, more

Very nice meteor shower. I was trying to decide whether to go out at 1 AM on the 14th and shoot the Geminids. After seeing 4 from my bed in about 10 minutes, I had to get out there. This composite was made from 50 minutes worth of shooting w my 24 mm lens. There is also a very slight green glow from the aurora peeking over the mountains.

To view more images, visit gallery pages 1, 2 and 3.

Geminid Anecdotes:

In Reno, Nevada, on Dec. 15th, James Mangum "sprawled out in the snow and counted more than 80 meteors in an hour. One rust-colored fireball lasted nearly 4 seconds as it crossed the sky, leaving bits and pieces in its path. Others were quite bright and blue in color. Great shower!"

"The Geminids were terriffic tonight (Dec. 15th)," reports airline pilot Dan Wood. "I just finished a trip from New Orleans and we got to watch the show through the airplane's windows. At times there were three or more Geminids per minute with seven or eight really bright green ones. I even saw a few while on the ground in Las Vegas--not the darkest place on the planet!"

"Reading your reports from the mainland indicated a modest shower. We got a much better show out here in the Pacific on the Big Island of Hawai’i," says Andrew Cooper, an electrical engineer at the W.M. Keck Observatory. "We did two semi-formal counts and arrived at numbers either side of 200ZHR, 216zhr at about 4:11am HST (14:11UTC), the second was 192zhr at about 04:40 HST (14:40 UTC). It was a pretty good show, plenty of bright meteors and a few with short lived trains. We also had several bright meteors apparently from another shower (Coma Berneicids?) in addition to the usual sporadics."

"I was up today morning (Friday 14th) in San Francisco, in Ocean Beach, from 5:00 to 6:00 AM, and I saw close to 10 shooting stars," reports Vladimir Sanchez. "It was very cool to wake up at 4:40 AM, get dressed and go with my wife and our 4 year old to see the marvelous starry sky in the morning. We'll be there next year!"

"I am located about 80 miles north of San Francisco in a rural dark-sky area and I thought the Geminids this year were pretty good," says Sheldon Heitz. "The display was bursty--that is, there would be periods of good activity (2 – 3 per minute) for a couple of minutes, then it would drop off to almost nothing for 30 minutes or more. I spent a total of three hours viewing, 12 – 1 am, 2 – 3 am, and 4 – 5 am (way too cold to last more than an hour at a time outdoors). The two later sessions were the best, with 5 or 6 good long bright white fireballs. In between were the usual fainter short streaks that would be difficult to see in light polluted locations. The only better show I have seen was the Leonid storm of several years ago, but this was certainly nothing close to comparing to that one!"

Martin Mc Kenna of Maghera, Co. Derry, N. Ireland: "My friend Conor Mc Donald and I watched the shower on Saturday night from the countryside near our homes in N. Ireland. We had to wait under 4 hours of cloud before the first clear breaks appeared but when they did we were rewarded with some treat. We ended up observing 137 Geminids and the vast majority of these were in the mag +0 and -1 range. We seen a rich number of fireballs with 5 of these reaching -6 to -7 green, white and gold in colour as they lit up the clouds from behind. At 05.00 I saw 5 fireballs fall into the eastern sky one behind the other as they fanned out from the radiant. We reckoned that we witnessed 1 - 2 per minute and this was many hours after the predicted peak. This was not only the best Geminid meteor shower I have ever seen but the best meteor shower out of all the annual showers in over 10 years of observing. - What a night!"

"Our family agrees," reports Bill Garske of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. "it's best meteor shower we've seen. We are seeing huge trails."

"I would like to report 147 meteors between 2:17am and 3:45am on Dec. 14th," says Luis Irizarry of Quebradillas, Puerto Rico. "I was planning a longer night but severe rain and bad weather conditions prohibited us from spending more time watching."

"I was out last night near Louisburg, Kansas from 11:00 p.m. (12/13) until 12:30 a.m. (12/14) and counted more than 70 Geminids and 6 non-Geminids," says Carolyn Karns. "Five of the Geminids I saw left smoke trails that lasted a few seconds. The sky was cloudless, but when fog rolled in, I called it a night. It wasn't the best Geminid shower I've ever seen, but I was not disappointed."

"I was with my family up near Wrightwood, CA," reports Brian Martin. "The sky was so clear and moonless--the night was awesome! Arrived at the site at 1230 am on Dec. 14th and we all counted in an hour 300 meteors. About 80% of the meteors were about as bright as vega, magnitude 0. The brightest seen was about as bright as the planet venus, magnitude -4. All in all, we had a GREAT time. Stayed up watching for only an hour, cause it was plenty cool. The shower was amazing and sometimes we saw three at a time!"

"I observed the Geminids from 12:58 AM until 1:15 AM PST from my backyard in San Diego, California." says Evan Zucker. "Gemini was nearly at the zenith, and the sky was clear. I was pleasantly surprised to observe nearly one Geminid per minute even though I could only see about one-half of the sky from my location. If my suburban location had been darker and if I did not have as much sky obstruction due to houses and trees, it seems likely I would have seen more than one per minute."

Gregg M. Pasterick: "My wife and I are vacationing on Maui, and we've been so busy, we were too tired for a full fledged Geminid watch. We did, however, sit out on our patio last night from about 9:45 HST until 10:15. In that half hour, with only about 1/3 of the sky available, a limiting magnitude of about +5.0, and the low elevation of the radiant (30 degrees? I couldn't see it; it was behind the house), I counted 20 Geminids. All those factors indicate a ZHR of better than 120 meteors per hour! Most were bright bobs of light. And it seems to me the shower was well on its way to a nice peak... "