Planning on staying up late (or waking up early) for this one. The Geminids is the “king” of the meteor showers. It is considered by many to be the best shower in the heavens, producing up to 120 multicolored meteors per hour at its peak. It is produced by debris left behind by an asteroid known as 3200 Phaethon, which was discovered in 1982. The shower runs annually from December 7-17. It peaks this year on the night of the 13th and morning of the 14th. The first quarter moon will set shortly after midnight leaving dark skies for what should be an excellent early morning show. Best viewing will be from a dark location after midnight. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Gemini, but can appear anywhere in the sky
The Ursids is a minor meteor shower producing about 5-10 meteors per hour. It is produced by dust grains left behind by comet Tuttle, which was first discovered in 1790. The shower runs annually from December 17-25. It peaks this year on the the night of the 21st and morning of the 22nd. This year the glare from the full moon will hide all but the brightest meteors. If you are extremely patient, you might still be able to catch a few good ones. Best viewing will be just after midnight from a dark location far away from city lights. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Ursa Minor, but can appear anywhere in the sky.
The winter solstice is the shortest day of the year, respectively, in the sense that the length of time elapsed between sunrise and sunset on this day is a minimum for the year. Of course, daylight saving time means that the first Sunday in April has 23 hours and the last Sunday in October has 25 hours, but these human meddlings with the calendar and do not correspond to the actual number of daylight hours.
If you life in the southern hemisphere, this is your Summer Solstice, celebrating the longest day of the year.
NOVAC’s Byron Bergert Imaging Group will hold its Not-a-Leap-Year Processing Party online on Saturday, February 27 from 10am to 1pm. As our planet’s satellite moves into its springtime prime, when the first-quarter moon will ride high in the sky, this seemed like a good opportunity to take a step sideways from our usual focus on deep sky astrophotography to do a session on lunar imaging. Our Special Guest Processor for this meeting is Tom Glenn, a skilled lunar and planetary photographer who lives in San Diego. You may be familiar with Tom’s work from his fantastic APOD of the International Space Station transiting Mars, but if you look at Tom’s Flickr site you’ll quickly see that he’s equally talented at lunar imaging, and in fact he earned his first APOD for that work. Tom images the moon with a 9.25” Celestron SCT and an ASI183 camera.
We’ll be holding this meeting online via Google Meet. Follow the link below to join the meeting (you can dial in for audio only):
PIN: 891 623 500#
We’ll open the connection about 10 minutes before the meeting time.