Best of 2021 Geminid Meteor Shower: See Fireballs in Studio City

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STUDIO CITY, CA – The next Geminid meteor shower scores the highest rating of the year, reliably producing 50 to 100 meteors per hour at the top, including multi-colored fireballs – but you’ll want to steer clear of the street lights of City Studio for the best views.

The Geminids take place from December 4 to 17 and culminate in the night of Monday and Tuesday December 13 to 14. The best time to see the Geminids is around 2 a.m. on the 14th, when the shower’s radiating point – the constellation Gemini – is at its highest point in the sky.

If you can’t get out during the peak, don’t despair.

You should also be able to see a good number of shooting stars a few days earlier as the Geminid meteor shower heads towards its crescendo. And if you can’t or don’t want to stay awake most of the night scanning the sky for meteors and fireballs, early evening sky watchers can catch a rare earth grazer, c that is, a slow, long-lived meteor traveling horizontally. across the sky.

A waxing gibbous moon – that is, about half of the face is illuminated – can erase some of the fainter meteors. But these meteors are so prolific and bright that you should be able to see shooting stars, especially in areas with dark skies.

Here are some places to consider near Studio City:

  • Joshua Tree National Park
  • Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Pinyon Wash
  • Julien, California

If that’s not possible, just know that the number of meteors visible per hour drops to around 30 or 40 in the suburbs, and those in city centers will see next to nothing at all.

Meteors occur when the Earth, in its orbit around the Sun, passes through debris left by comets and decaying space rocks. Geminid meteors fly as Earth passes through the massive trail of dusty debris left behind by the rocky object named 3200 Phaethon. Dust and gravel burn as it enters Earth’s atmosphere, causing a flurry of meteors.

Phaethon is one of the mysteries of the universe, according to NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke.

“It’s either a near-Earth asteroid or an extinct comet, sometimes referred to as a rock comet,” he wrote on a blog on the agency’s website. “There is another object – an Apollo asteroid named 2005 UD – that sits in an orbit dynamically similar to Phaethon, which suggests that the two were once part of a larger body that separated or is collided with another asteroid. “


There is more: “Most rain meteors are rejected by comets as their orbits take them into the inner solar system, but Geminids can be the debris of that rupture or collision event from a long time ago. Consider that the Geminid meteor stream has more mass than any other meteor shower, including the Perseids, what happened back then must have been quite spectacular. “

The earliest known report of the Geminid meteor shower dates back to 1833, when it was seen from a slowly moving riverboat on the Mississippi River. The rain was producing 10 or 20 per hour at the time, but the Geminids have increased in intensity over the centuries as Jupiter’s gravity pulls particles from 3,200 Phaethon closer to Earth.

Here are some tips for getting the most out of your nighttime meteor watching excursion:

  • Give your eyes 30 minutes to an hour to adjust to the dark.
  • Lie on your back on a thick blanket or hammock, or sit in a reclining lounge chair to see as much of the sky as possible. Do not look directly at Gemini, the radiating point of the shower; you’ll miss some of the amazing tails associated with this winter favorite. Instead, look slightly away from the constellation.
  • The only thing that makes the Geminid meteor shower second to the August Perseid meteor shower is the late fall cold, so bring hot drinks and snacks, and pack. you to settle down. Geminids reward patience. They often fly in spurts, but there can be lulls when you don’t see a meteor.

If you miss the Geminids, there is one more chance in 2021 of seeing meteors. The Ursid meteor shower runs from December 17 to 26 and always peaks around the winter solstice, which is December 21.

The Ursids are fairly inconspicuous, delivering five or 10 meteors per hour, but on rare occasions they can produce explosions of 100 or more meteors per hour. The meteors appear to be coming from the constellation Ursa Minor.

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