Shooting stars light up downtown; Geminids reward lazy skywatcher

2012-12-13T05:48:00Z 2012-12-13T07:06:03Z Shooting stars light up downtown; Geminids reward lazy skywatcherBy Tom Beal, Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
December 13, 2012 5:48 am  • 

I'm guessing that anyone who got up in the middle of the night to drive out to some dark locale and watch the sky last night was amply rewarded with a good meteor show.

I turned down a friend's offer to drive over Gates Pass at 1:30 a.m., but I did manage to haul myself out of bed at 4:45 a.m. to stand at the western corner of my house, between the two streetlights. I counted 14 meteors in a 30-minute span.

Some were simply glimpses of light moving at the edge of my vision, but most were pretty good, slow-moving meteors. One lit the sky pretty well and left a momentary trail.

I can only imagine how good the viewing was in darker places at the show's peak, when the constellation Gemini was overhead at 1:30 a.m.

The Geminid meteor shower appears annually when the Earth's orbit moves through the dust particles left behind by a space rock named Phaethon that, maybe, used to be a comet.

It peaks tonight, but the forecast calls for clouds.

Any reports from less lazy skywatchers?

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From the cosmos to the invisible world of nanotechnology, this is the place for anyone with a "scientific bent" in Southern Arizona.

Senior reporter Tom Beal provides color commentary from the science beat and assistant business editor Dave Wichner contributes an inside look at the business aspects of technology.

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