If you’re lucky enough to find yourself on a clear sky tonight somewhere in the Northern Hemisphere then you should forget about work or school tomorrow and head out to watch the peak of activity for he Geminid meteor shower.
Don’t be too alarmed if the skies are cloudy (they always seem to be cloudy in London recently), this is an annual event so you can hold off for 12 months and see them at their peak again.
Speaking of forgetting about school, in 1997 I stayed out in a dark location in Darwin Australia until 3am the night before my Maths 1 exam in my last year of high school…. no wonder I ended up building websites instead of studying Astrophysics 😉
From a radiant point in the constellation of the Twins, the annual Geminid meteor shower rain down on planet Earth. Tonight, the Geminds reach their peak and could be quite spectacular. The featured blended image, however, captured the shower‘s impressive peak in the year 2012.
The beautiful skyscape collected Gemini’s lovely shooting stars in a careful composite of 30 exposures, each 20 seconds long, from the dark of the Chilean Atacama Desert over ESO‘s Paranal Observatory. In the foreground Paranal’s four Very Large Telescopes, four Auxillary Telescopes, and the VLT Survey telescope are all open and observing.
The skies above are shared with bright Jupiter (left), Orion, (top left), and the faint light of the Milky Way. Dust swept up from the orbit of active asteroid 3200 Phaethon, Gemini’s meteors enter Earth’s atmosphere traveling at about 22 kilometers per second.
Originally posted – http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap151213.html