2006 Geminid Shower

2006 GeminidsThe annual Geminid meteor shower occurs when debris from the asteroid 3200 Phaethon intercepts the Earth. This is a very rare type of shower in having an asteroidal, rather than cometary parent (although there is some speculation that Phaethon may actually be the rocky core of an evaporated comet).

The shower produces fairly long, bright, moderate speed meteors. This year's shower had little interference from the Moon, but we had cloudy skies. Consequently, only very bright meteors were recorded.

This is a composite image of 92 meteors collected on the evenings of December 12/13 (48 events) and December 13/14 (44 events). Because the images were collected over many hours, the radiant of the shower is spread out and not apparent. Mouse over the image to display the path of the radiant from 8 PM to 6 AM local time. Long necklace-like streaks are stars or planets captured as they traveled across the sky over many hours. These form arcs centered on Polaris, which is located fairly low in the sky above the zero degree azimuth marker.

See a streaming video of all three days' events.

© Copyright 2007, Chris L Peterson. All rights reserved.