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December offers meteor show

“Welcome, winter. Your late dawns and chilled breath make me lazy, but I love you nonetheless.” ~Terri Guillemets

Seems like everywhere I have looked lately I have been reminded how the weather this December
has been unseasonably warm. However this week the weather forecast appears to be taking a turn toward the cold, with overnight lows even dipping into the upper 20s. While it may be cold outside, that is no reason to miss what has been called the best meteor shower in the heavens.

The December Geminid meteor shower is now considered by most meteor experts to be at the top of the list, surpassing even the August Perseids shower in brilliance and reliability. You can start observing this magnificent display of Heavenly Christmas lights as soon as darkness falls on the evening of Dec. 13th as the Gemini constellation starts rising above the eastern horizon. This spectacular show of multi-colored meteors will continue through the night. At approximately 2 a.m., when Gemini is almost directly overhead, we may see as many as two meteor sightings per minute – that’s 120 meteors per hour! While Dec. 13 and 14 is predicted to be the peak of the shower, some meteors should be visible from Dec.6-19.

As an added bonus, the moon is new that night, meaning that it will not be a factor at all. While writing
this article I have been checking the weather reports for that night – currently the forecast is for a clear night, with calm winds and a low of 28 degrees. Hopefully this forecast will be accurate and we will have a clear night to enjoy this show.

In the Stars
by Damaris Higgins