Monday, December 10, 2012

On the Lookout for Shooting Stars

As we get ready for Episode #3, we thought we'd present you with a few seasonal mini-episodes.

Mid-December is the time for a sky event called the Geminid Meteor Shower. Meteor showers happen when space dust and bits of rock enter the Earth's atmosphere. They are named for nearest bright star or constellation (group of stars) in which they appear: in this case, the constellation Gemini. This year, the Geminids will peak on December 13 and 14, with possibly hundreds of meteors an hour lighting up the sky.  If we're lucky, and the sky is dark enough wherever we happen to be, we can see these meteors—also known as shooting stars—because they catch on fire as they enter our atmosphere, streaking across the night sky. Of course, the sky is never truly dark in the city, because of all the lights on buildings and along highways. But that doesn't mean it's impossible to spot shooting stars!

The above video shows what the Geminids looked like last year, northeast of the city of Belfast in Northern Ireland. It was shot by our friend Robert Cobain of Meteor Logbook. How many meteors can you count?

If you manage to see any shooting stars this week, write in and tell us about them!

No comments:

Post a Comment