Early this morning was supposed to be the peak of the annual Geminid meteor shower, but unfortunately it’s two degrees F. outside. The up side is that cold nights often have rock-steady and clear skies, if you can bear being out under them in such malign conditions.
I went to sleep at about midnight last night hoping that I’d have to get up to pee sometime during the wee hours of Tuesday morning. My wish came true, and after voiding my bladder I put on a jacket and stepped outside to see what was up, so to speak. It was 4:30 AM. The twin stars Castor and Pollux in Gemini were near the zenith. This pair of stars is striking; they are bright and they’re about two inches apart at arm’s length; i.e., if I hold my thumb and forefinger two inches apart and extend my arm, Castor would be by my forefinger and Pollux near my thumb.
I saw one bright meteor flash by, but when it’s that cold ten minutes is about my limit if I’m not walking.
I slept for a while, then got up again at about 5:30, just before dawn. This time I saw two nice meteor trails, but clouds were beginning to move in so I called it a morning.
Here’s what I could have seen had I been very lucky and had happened to be in a desert region with perfect night-time skies. This photo was taken by Wally Pacholka during another Geminid shower:
There’s always next year!