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A grand year for the Geminids

The 2017 Geminid meteor shower was thought to have a better-than-average chance of producing a rich display, since the Geminids’ parent body – a strange rock-comet called 3200 Phaethon – is nearby. And so it was! Photos here.

Awesome Geminid meteors in 2017? Thank 3200 Phaethon

“The Geminids are good,” reported veteran meteor observer Eliot Herman in Tucson, Arizona, who captured this fireball on the morning of December 14 around 4 a.m.

Linda Cook in Manzanita, Oregon wrote: “I saw several small, shorter lasting Geminid meteors and then this one came as though right at me – large and beautiful! I was so excited!”

Scott MacNeill in Charlestown, Rhode Island created this composite image from 4 separate images of the December 14, 2017 Geminid peak and wrote: “We had super clear skies for the first couple hours of the Geminid meteor shower at Frosty Drew Observatory. Temps were in the 20s with wind chills dropping into the single digits. Clouds rolled in around 9 p.m. and my count was at 34. Clouds cleared briefly between 10:30 and 11 p.m., bringing my count to 50 Geminids before clouds stole the night. Numerous visitors braved the cold to come lay out under the fantastic starscape before clouds moved in … a night to remember.”

SpaceIndia wrote: “What a night for Geminids! The meteor shower was viewed in all its glory at Astroport-Sariska!”

Moon, Jupiter, Mars, and star Spica ascending over Lake Huron in Michigan, before dawn on December 14, peak morning of 2017’s Geminid meteor shower. Photo by Robert Boda of Rootdoctor Photography.

Kenny Cagle also observed the shower on the morning of December 14. He wrote: “Geminids meteor with the moon, Jupiter (below right of moon), and Mars (above right of moon) over Lake Ouachita, Arkansas.”

Michael Holland Sr. wrote that morning from Lake Gibson, Florida: “The Geminids meteor shower did not disappoint. Here is the predawn sky with the moon, Jupiter, Mars and Spica and a touch of Geminids spice.”

Scott Kuhn in Chatsworth, Georgia used a fisheye lens to create this image of a curved meteor. In the real sky, the meteor would have appeared in a straight line. Thanks, Scott!

Alyssa King in Tennessee caught this meteor on the morning of December 14, 2017 and wrote: ” … one of the brighter meteors of the night.”

One of the easiest ways to be sure you’ll capture some meteors is to create an image of star trails. They are the long streaks in this image by Daniel Gauss, who wrote: “Luna County, New Mexico. Looking SSE, because that’s where all the action was around 1 a.m. MST.”

Here’s another lovely star trails photo from Nickey Jackson, who wrote: “Set my camera up at 10 p.m. – 4 a.m. and was able to get many meteors in Auburn, Alabama.”

More star trails and meteors (almost all Geminids) captured on December 14, 2017, during the Virtual Telescope Project’s live feed from Tenagra Observatories in Arizona. For more cool photos, visit Virtual Telescope’s Geminids 2017 page.

Abhijit Patil in York, Maine caught this images to make this composite on December 13 and wrote:” I was out there for 3 hours and I lost a count of how many meteors I might have seen. Sometimes there was a burst. The absence of the moon allowed even the faintest of the meteors to be visible. The battle against 30 kph winds and freezing temperatures was worth it!”

Wesley Loftis in Clarksville, Virginia caught this Gemind meteor on the morning of December 13, 2017. By all reports, December 13 was also a good display.

View larger. | Stephanie Longo near Pikes Peak, Colorado caught these 3 meteors on the morning of December 13, 2017. She wrote: “I saw many, many beautiful meteors…”

Eliot Herman in Tucson, who caught the Geminid fireball you saw at the top of this post, also submitted this complete image of what he called “an epic half hour of the Geminids.” He wrote: “… from about 2:45 a.m. until after 4:30 am local time the Gemini’s boomed in Tucson’s sky. These are the 4 brightest meteors observed including 3 bright fireballs. Images captured with a Nikon D810 camera and an 8 mm Sigma fisheye.”

Eddie Popovits in Branson, Missouri caught this beautiful image on the morning of December 13, 2017. Thanks, Eddie!

Bottom line: Photos of 2017’s Geminid meteor shower.

Deborah Byrd

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