Our friend Eliot Herman – who has a very cool set-up for capturing meteors – sent us this photo. It appears to be an early Geminid meteor, and not just any meteor but a fireball, or exceptionally bright meteor. We’re still many days away from the peak of this shower on the night of December 13 (morning of December 14), 2015. But the shower should be gearing up around now. Eliot wrote:
Fisheyes curve, or distort, so one needs to be a bit careful about projecting back [to the radiant point], but it looks like the right place.
He’s talking about the fact that meteors in annual showers, like the Geminids, all appear to stream in our sky from a single point, called the radiant point. You don’t have to be looking at the radiant point to see the meteor shower, but – to see the greatest number of meteors – it’s better if the radiant point is above the horizon, and best if it’s high in the sky. For the Geminids, the highest point in the sky is around 2 a.m. local time. That’s the time on your clock no matter where you are on Earth.
Bottom line: Photo of an early meteor in the Geminid shower, taken December 3, 2015.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.