Monday, 13 December 2010

gemenids 2010

Tonight is the annual peak of the Gemenid meteor shower, a real rival to August's Perseid shower and predicted to be the best display of "shooting stars" this year. A crescent moon will dull the intensity only until it sets after midnight, so it's best to view them after then. Look towards the constellation Gemini (hence the name Gemenids) to see these relatively slowly moving meteors. The radiant - the point from which the meteors appear to originate, is close to the bright star Castor in Gemini. Here in Scotland, the sky's currently clear so it could be an amazing night to view them.

This time last year, I posted from a freezing (-7 degree) wild camping trip, having climbed Gulvain, and remember watching this great shower in a remote spot in the Highlands away from the light pollution of the city.

cold camping last year...

There's also a lunar eclipse due just before dawn on the 21st December, though the conditions in the UK aren't optimal for viewing it as, at mid-eclipse at 8.16am, the moon will have virtually set and the sky brightening as the sun rises. The moon begins to enter the shadow of the earth at 5.29am when the moon is just under 30 degrees above the horizon. Slowly, the left hand side of the moon will darken until at 7.41am it will be within the umbral shadow.

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