Tonight is the perfect night for stargazing. From our friends at the AB-Tech Institute for Climate Education comes an update on what you may see in the sky tonight - assuming the clouds don't get in the way. Read their report that follows and check out these prime locations for stargazing in Asheville.
Mid-December brings one of the most unique meteor showers that we get to see throughout the year, the Geminid Meteor Shower. Although viewing conditions won’t be perfect for viewing in Western North Carolina, the mild conditions may make it worth the effort.
We’ll likely see some cloud cover with the bright Waning Gibbous moon tonight (just past full at 90.5%). We may also see the development of some fog in the valleys overnight, but if you venture outside after 10:00 tonight, set out a blanket, make yourself comfortable and give your eyes time to adjust to the darkness, you may get a glimpse of a few meteors. Point your feet toward the East, and look toward the constellation Gemini (see the sky map below). Viewing is always best if you can get to an area without city lights, but we’re expecting mostly cloudy skies tonight. So, a special trip away from any lights may not be worth the effort if the clouds do set in.
Most meteor showers are produced as the Earth crosses the debris path left by a comet. However, the Geminid Shower is unique because it’s created from the dusty debris left by a near-Earth asteroid named 3200 Phaethon.
|Credit: Dr. Tony Phillips, NASA Science News|For more detailed information on the Geminid Meteor Shower from NASA Science News, click here.
December 13, 2011