How to spot this year’s Geminid meteor shower


Mandatory Credit: Photo by Graeme Whipps/Shutterstock (4301807b) Pic shows the Geminid meteor shower over Pitcaple in Aberdeenshire on Sunday evening Dec 14th. A Scottish photographer has managed to get some pictures of the Geminid meteor shower on its FINAL night above the UK. Amateur astronomer Graeme Whipps picked up 13 meteors on camera in the dramatic display above Pitcaple in Aberdeenshire last night (Sun). "There was a little bit of airglow, an active burst of aurora, distant lightning flashes and last, but not least, the Geminids," said Graeme, 50, who works as a meteorologist. "It wasn't as bright as the 12th and 13th but they were much more frequent, although mostly short and fast moving." The shower is an annual occurrence which happens when the Earth crosses paths with a trail of rocky debris left behind by an asteroid known as 3200 Phaethon. The debris burns up when it enters the Earth's atmosphere, giving the appearance of a "shooting star." Annual Geminid Meteor Shower, Exeter, Devon, Britain - 14 Dec 2014 A Scottish photographer has managed to get some pictures of the Geminid meteor shower on its FINAL night above the UK. Amateur astronomer Graeme Whipps picked up 13 meteors on camera in the dramatic display above Pitcaple in Aberdeenshire. "There was a little bit of airglow, an active burst of aurora, distant lightning flashes and last, but not least, the Geminids," said Graeme, 50, who works as a meteorologist. "It wasn't as bright as the 12th and 13th but they were much more frequent, although mostly short and fast moving." The shower is an annual occurrence which happens when the Earth crosses paths with a trail of rocky debris left behind by an asteroid known as 3200 Phaethon. The debris burns up when it enters the Earth's atmosphere, giving the appearance of a "shooting star."

Graeme Whipps/Shutterstock

I RECENTLY learned that the field of radio astronomy essentially started with a meteor shower. It was December 1945, and physicist Bernard Lovell was in Cheshire, UK, searching for cosmic rays – high-energy particles that zip through space. He had obtained a radar detector left over from the British army after the second world war, and a patch of land owned by the University of Manchester’s botany department.

It just so happened that the night Lovell picked to search for cosmic rays was 14 December, the peak of the Geminid meteor shower. When he turned the radar gun on, he picked…

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