Geminids 2022

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    Alex Pratt

    The Geminid meteor shower is evolving and in a human lifetime we have seen it become the major display of the year, now outperforming the Perseids. This year’s maximum is predicted to occur during the daytime on Dec 14. The activity profile of the Geminids is skewed, they decline rapidly after maximum, so the night of Dec 13/14 should be the best for observing their peak rates with a ZHR up to 100. Unfortunately, this is two days before Last Quarter, hence a bright Moon will interfere with observations later in the night.

    Geminid meteors are relatively slow, with geocentric velocities of ‘only’ 34 km/s, half that of the speedy Leonids. Geminid meteoroids have a higher density than most other streams; this is because they are believed to originate from the ‘rock comet’ (3200) Phaethon which is a potentially hazardous asteroid in an Apollo-type orbit taking it close to the Sun. It’s been theorised that material from some bright (large) Geminids could possibly survive passage through our atmosphere and produce tiny Geminid meteorites.

    In December 2017 Phaethon was only 10 million km from Earth and was visible in small telescopes. Radar and occultation data show that it is ~5 km across and the Japanese Space Agency JAXA is preparing DESTINY+, a Phaethon flyby mission.

    Clear skies,


    James Lancashire

    The is a flux graph at IMO

    Mark Phillips

    I hadn’t realised just how prolific the Geminids had become until I got a meteorcam. Last night was just amazing!

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