Winter is the best season which encounters many picturesque events. So grab your winter coat and gloves, have some coffee, step outside and view up. The Geminid meteor shower arguably the most powerful shooting stars of 2017 crowns in the night of Dec. 13-14. The International Meteor Organization foretells that the Geminids will put on a good show starting about 10 p.m. Dec. 13 and continue through the night.
The waning crescent moon will be in a last-quarter phase so that it won’t bathe the meteors in the light. Both the IMO (International Meteor Organization) and the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada determined that the shower will rise at about 120 meteors an hour, presented there are dark, clear skies. The Geminids can be shiny and have intense colour, according to the IMO. So turn off your house lights, get away from streetlights and stare into the cold sky.
Usually speaking, meteor showers are born from the dusty tails of comets. When comets approach the sun, they warm up and form a tail, spewing vapour and dirt. When Earth spins the sun on its annual 365-day journey, our blue planet’s atmosphere necessarily strikes dirt from these remaining comet traces. The dust burns in our atmosphere light up and shoots across our heavens.
But the Geminids occur thanks to an asteroid: Phaethon, a rocky object about three miles in diameter that floats close to the sun, heats up and scatters shards. When Earth runs into these rocky chips, they light up.
In summation to tonight’s full moon, the year’s most important, according to the Royal Astronomical Society, the planets Mars and Jupiter start playing an astronomical game of tag now and into January. Before dawn, find the planetary pair in the southeastern sky. The big, gassy Jupiter is -1.7 magnitudes far below the dark, reddish Mars.
As the month proceeds, Mars brightens, and the two planets appear to speed close together at the end of December for a conjunction beginning in the new year.
Venus, Saturn and Mercury are taking a holiday vacation hiding in the sun’s dazzle, probably sipping the cosmic drink. The fleet Mercury returns to the morning heavens in late December in the southeast, popping up above to the horizon. Before dawn, look in the direction of the bright Jupiter, then look lower toward the background and then to the left to spot Mercury.
The darkest days may soon be behind us. The forthcoming solstice starts the winter period here in the Northern Hemisphere on Dec. 21 at 11:28 a.m. Asian time, according to the Naval Observatory. Dec. 20-22, the City area gets nine hours and 26 minutes of sunlight, the least measure all year. Beginning Dec. 23, we will enjoy a bit more daylight, and it will grow until June.
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