• Ray Ewing

Geminid Meteor Shower

The biggest meteor shower of the year will take place next Wednesday night. The Geminid meteor shower will be a wonderful way to close out the year with the best display. The moon will not interfere. As long as skies remain clear late into the evening, observers can expect to spot meteors, shooting stars crossing the sky fairly frequently. While most are familiar with the August Perseid Shower for its size and familiarity, the Geminid shower is better. The challenge with this shower is the temperature outside.

If you can bare the cold temperatures you'll enjoy this show. Astronomers put an estimate of as many as 100 meteors in an hour, though on the Vineyard it is more realistic to not expect so many.

The meteors will appear to radiate from the zodiacal constellation Gemini, which is rising in the eastern sky at 9 p.m. The later you look, the better the chances of seeing more meteors and thus enjoying the show. At midnight, the constellation is overhead. Astronomers also advise that the show will be best even later.

The meteors are space debris from the orbiting asteroid 2300 Phaethon. There is plenty of interesting science attached to this "rock comet." Most of our meteor showers are caused by comets that circle the Sun. This one is different, though like a comet, this asteroid has an elliptical orbit around the sun.

Sunrise and Sunset
Day Sunrise Sunset
Fri., Dec. 8 6:55 4:11
Sat., Dec. 9 6:56 4:11
Sun., Dec. 10 6:57 4:11
Mon., Dec. 11 6:58 4:11
Tues., Dec. 12 6:59 4:11
Wed., Dec. 13 6:59 4:11
Thurs., Dec. 14 7:00 4:11
Fri., Dec. 15 7:01 4:12
Temperatures and Precipitations
Day Max (Fº) Min (Fº) Inches
Dec. 1 56 36 0.00
Dec. 2 58 49 0.13
Dec. 3 52 42 0.18
Dec. 4 47 43 0.55
Dec. 5 54 38 T
Dec. 6 42 35 T
Dec. 7 38 24 T


Water temperature in Edgartown harbor: 47º F


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