[AZ-Observing] Geminid Report

  • From: Tom Polakis <polakis@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: az-observing@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 14 Dec 2001 18:33:29 -0700

Being generally absent-minded, I left a duffle bag containing _all_ of my
warm observing clothes at Sunglow Ranch after the night of the Leonids.
Thursday night I picked them up, and decided to stay at the ranch to view
the Geminids.   I was expecting to be jaded after the great display a month
earlier, but I was not disappointed.  I have a hard time believing the
shower was not an above-average display.

The only other astronomer at the site was optics pundit Peter Cerravolo,
who made the trip from Ottawa, presumably for Arizona's balmy December
temeperatures.  We spent half the time conversing in a heated room, but
also enjoyed several good hours of great meteor observing.

Between midnight and 2 a.m., I couldn't count higher than 15 seconds
without seeing a Geminid.  Typically the interval was more near 10 seconds.
 Even if I factor in an "overestimate rate factor" gleaned from my
experience with the Leonids, the rate had to have been well in excess of
100 per hour.  I saw the Geminids as yellow or white, with many slow
moving, bright meteors.  Not one of them was brighter than Jupiter, and
none would qualify as a bolide.  Also unlike the Leonids, not one Geminid
left a significant train.

At 2:00, my frost-covered thermometer was reading 15F, making this the
coldest night in which I have done prolonged observing.  We are truly spoiled.



Tom Polakis
Tempe, AZ
Arizona Sky Pages
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