Friday, December 14, 2012

A really good show

Fungus and frost
The Geminid meteor shower put on an exceptionally good show over my cabin last evening and again this morning. The best was a near-fireball of a meteor that streaked across the pre-dawn sky and lasted for several seconds. Meteor showers are fun to watch, though most of the time a good view isn’t easy to come by. You’ll see a meteor out of the corner of your eye and by the time you turn your head, it’s gone. To me, a good one is one that lasts long enough to see after you turn your head or one that falls right where you happen to be looking. And the brighter the better, too, of course.

Last night the sky was perfectly clear and crisp with the chill of December. Snowmaking hadn’t started yet, which means the slope lights weren’t on. Without a moon, the winter sky was an inky black and filled with stars. A better night for sky viewing would be hard to find.

Faded goldenrod in the morning sun
Dog and I walked out to the lane where I had a more open view of the sky. Meteors streaked across the sky, one here, another there a minute or so later. Rarely did I wait for longer than that without seeing another one. Not all of them are brilliant. Some were short or dim, but every few minutes was one bright and lit up the sky.

This morning before dawn, I looked again, and I think the viewing was even better this morning around 5:30 a.m. I saw more with longer “tails” that were brighter than those of the evening before. I wish I’d had more time to stand in the chill and watch the sky show streak overhead. It’s been a few years since I’ve seen a meteor show that good.

The August Perseid show can be wonderful, though summer’s haze often interferes. And here at my cabin, cloudy skies have obscured that shower for a few years. The Geminids are usually considered the second best meteor shower of a year, but this year I’d have to say they topped even a good Perseid meteor show. I hope you got to see it. If not, try again tonight. I hear there might be a few left.


Scott said...

Too much city light here, Carolyn. Though I didn't go out to look last night (I've never been able to see either meteor shower here because of the city lights), one of my employees said that he went out and saw nothing. So, it's good to hear that there was a good show, and it's great that you were able to see it.

Kali and I got to enjoy the Perseid show in the Wyoming mountains many, many years ago; it was one of the most memorable events in our lives.

Pablo said...

I was out running at 3:30 on Friday morning, and I hoped to see some meteors, but there are too many street lights on my route to see much of the sky, much less the subtlety of a meteor streak.

Granny Sue said...

Shoot, I missed it. Life has been too busy lately. I need to slow down. Being sick these past few days has made me realize that.

Carolyn H said...

I like the Perseid meteor shower, too, and in August, you'd think it would be an easier time to view it, but summer haze can be havoc on it. This Geminid show was a really good one

Carolyn H said...

Pablo, too bad you didn't see any on your early morning run. It probably would have needed one of those fireball-level meteors to overcome the street lights.

Carolyn H said...

Granny Sue: There's always another meteor shower sooner or later!