Meteor shower Action

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Month total eclipse post December 10, 2011, there is still an amazing variety of events in the night sky. One of the Geminid meteor shower, which will reach its peak on Wednesday, December 14, 2011.


Meteor showers?
Meteor showers is the term for the phenomenon of the invisibility of a number of meteors in a row within a certain time interval in which all meteors seemed to originate from a common point in the sky. In certain circumstances the number of meteors that involved quite a lot so impressive as rain. This is what makes so-called meteor showers. Meteor showers are named according to the cluster of stars that become the source location. So is the Geminid meteor shower meteor shower, whose origins are in the constellation Gemini.

Whence the meteor shower?
Basically any known meteor shower on Earth came from comets crumbs scattered along its orbit. eVERY passing comet approaches the Sun in its orbit through the circulation, the pressure of solar wind and the storm will scatter dust and clots easily evaporate from the surface of a comet. Atomic excitation and the reflection of sunlight makes it a tail of gas and dust tails are typical. Dust tail can be stretched as far as 150 million km, even in the case of comet Hyakutake as far as 300 million km in width could match Jupiter.

As growing estrangement comet, gas will disappear at the vastness of space, but still left in the dust along the comet's orbit. This is known as a filament. Furthermore, since comets are celestial bodies that orbit the solar system not stabil so prone to interruption of gravity of the planets, Earth's gravity turn or combination with Jupiter's gravity to take over the role. Filaments also been modified. So when the Earth passed near the comet's orbit, the open potential of filaments met with the Earth.

The meeting will cause the filament, which consists of microscopic dust and some the size of gravel, into the atmosphere in very high speed. This produces ram pressure in the atmosphere, which was so great that could raise the local temperature is very high which makes the dust has evaporated. Throughout the heating occurs, create light that we see as meteors. Age of light is very short, ie 1-2 seconds. The majority of meteors are vaporized depleted at an altitude of 60 to 90 km from the Earth's surface. But if the gravel that comes in, flashes of light could be seen more than 5 seconds and just destroyed at an altitude of 40 km or less. We knew him as Fireball, bright meteors or ndaru.

Every time the comet passed near the Sun, essentially due to gravity changes the orbits of the planets, although these changes are relatively small. Hence it produces filaments were different position than the previous filaments. In certain situations, the Earth can be met with more than one filament of the same comet. As a result of dust into the atmosphere very much, so the number of meteors that formed very abundant. In November 1966 and 1998 for example, three filaments from the comet Tempel-Tuttle into the Earth at the same time resulting in a Leonid meteor rain very intensive, where the average hourly meteor formed 100 000 or more.

Geminid meteor shower?
Geminid meteor shower occurs every first half of December. In the year 2011 Geminid meteor shower lasts between 7 and December 17, 2011 with a peak on December 14. Geminid meteor shower produces an average of 120 meteors / hour at its peak and is quite high among other meteor showers. In general there are only three meteor showers that can produce 100 meteors / hour or more, ie, in early January Quadrantid, Perseid and Geminid in early August.

Geminid meteor soared by an average initial velocity 35 km / sec. But unlike other meteor showers are relatively obvious source, the origin remains mysterious Geminids meteor. IRAS space mission based telescopic infrared satellite in the early decades of 980-an opportunity to solve the mystery thrust sebenanya Geminids. On October 11, 1983 identified the IRAS satellite that orbits the asteroid Phaethon extremely oval. 5 km diameter asteroid has an orbit profile is identical to the Geminid meteors.

The total mass of the entire filament Geminids are estimated to be equivalent to 1-10% of the mass of Phaethon, so the equivalent mass of the crust Phaethons etebal 5 to 20 cm. From this it appears to associate with the Geminid meteors asteroid Phaethon get justification. Moreover, later followed discovered asteroid 2005 YC TD and 1999 Phaethon resembles the profile of its orbit. Evaluation of the dynamics of asteroids orbit the three shows a third possibility comes from the splitting of large asteroids Pallas about 26 million years ago. Moreover, how the occurrence of collisions between asteroids has been demonstrated brilliantly by the Hubble space telescope a year ago.

But this allegation countered by filament dynamics Geminids, an impressive newly-formed about 600 to 2,000 years ago in the environment near the Sun. So it's not as old as 26 million years ago. Filaments began to intersect with Earth's orbit since the 1.5 centuries ago so that's new since we can see the Geminids. In addition, although Phaethon likely ejects fine dust due to breakdown of the surface as it approached the Sun to arrive at the point perihelionnya which only 21 million miles (much closer to the Sun than Mercury), but the numbers are very small so that from each of 10 000 Geminid meteors only one that comes of asteroid Phaethon.

So where the origin is still mysterious Geminids mateor.

How do I observe?
Geminid meteor shower peaks will coincide with the Wednesday morning December 14, 2011. In observing the meteor shower is not required auxiliary instruments such as telescopes, simply relying on the eye without any tools. On Wednesday morning, the constellation Geminid already exists in the western sky so that observations can be focused into the western sky and the surrounding areas, although it is possible to observe the sky in the opposite.

Unfortunately, despite the unfriendly weather that tends to weather anomalies over the return cycle of the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) that could potentially bring very heavy rain, the sky was unfavorable situation. Months is still quite bendeang in the sky, because only two days off from full moon situations. This causes the Geminid meteors will not be visible, unless it formed Fireball.