Look to the heavens this week and you may see something no earthling has seen before – meteors from the comet Wirtanen.
The comet was discovered in 1948 and orbits the sun every 5.4 years, but 2012 will mark the first time the Earth's orbit will cross the comet's debris field, possibly producing meteors, according to a NASA press release.
"Dust from this comet hitting Earth's atmosphere could produce as many as 30 meteors per hour," Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office said in the release.
The Wirtanen meteor show could come any time between Tuesday and Friday as Earth will cross the comet's tail four times during that span, the NASA release said.
But just because you spot meteors this week, don't think they're automatically from Wirtanen. That's because the Geminid meteor shower is expected to peak Thursday night.
The Geminids, which come around every December, were first observed shortly before the Civil War. They come when the Earth passes through debris from the extinct comet 3200 Phaethon. NASA says an extinct comet is the rock that remains when a comet loses its ice. This meteor shower is called the Geminids because if you trace the path of the meteors, it looks as if they are coming from the constellation Gemini. And that's how you can distinguish these meteors from those that may be the product of Wirtanen. Wirtanen meteors would come from the constellation Pisces.
Cooke also said the meteors from Wirtanen should be visible early in the evening while Geminids should show up later.
Beginning at 11 ET Thursday night, Cooke and other comet experts at will hold an online chat about the meteor showers. NASA will also provide a Ustream feed of the meteor showers. As many as 120 meteors an hour may be visible, NASA said.
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3 more days till all you dume ass people realise that we are just restarting the mayan calander for the 13 time the world did not blow up the first 12 times so why is this one a big deal
I wish I had started my own 503c a year ago so I could have charged $20 for every hominid who actually believes in the 2012 prophesies. As a tax deductible church donor I could have collected a fortune in offerings and bought my own Lear Jet..Or a least a nice bass boat..Bunch of ninnies..And by the way..GO NASA.!.Without you we would be lost in the Middle Ages..With the Roman anti science crowd running the Universe...GO NASA!!!
What an ignorant post! Everyone knows with economies and things, meteors and science? Come on!
This meteor shower is all George Bushes Fault !!!!!!!!!!!!!
I wish I had started my own 503c a year ago so I could have charged $20 for every hominid who actually believes in the 2012 prophesies as a tax deductible church donor and bought my own Lear Jet..Or a least a nice bass boat..Bunch of ninnies..And by the way..GO NASA.!.Without you we would be lost in the Middle Ages..
so if this is the first time we are going through this type of debris... is it potentially a threat or not?
It won't be dangerous at all. These are tiny pieces of a comet that isn't even that big itself - the whole comet could hit Earth (it's not on a collision trajectory, just making a comparison) and, while it would make headline news for a while, wouldn't be that big of a deal.
There is a nice free program out called "Stellarium". It will show everything you want to know about the night sky. Enjoy the meteor shower.
Sarah Palin wears a bathing cap during a meteor shower so she doesn't get her hair wet.
Yes, much like Odumba and Biten do their tinfoil hats and sip kool-aid because they think the mother ship is coming for them.
Get back in your trailer bag-boy. Nascar's on and you don't want to miss that now do you.
The election is OVER. Get a life & move on.
You can find Gemini or Pisces with a good star chart. Nthey won't burn out your night vision like a phone app and are much more accurate. A good one is The Night Sky by The Chandler Company available on Amazon and lots of other places. I have seen this chart at national parks and it is used in lots of universities. I have one and it is very easy to use.
It's the sign written in ancient prophesies: Look to the heavens. When it appears to be shattered and fragments race through the night skies, soon so shall the Earth.
I found absolutely nothing anywhere with that exact quote. However assuming that you may be para-phrasing or changing the wording, meteor showers have happened quite often since those "ancient" prophesies were written. Knowing this I would say that the world either ended a long time ago or that you need to be a little more specific as to what meteor shower is going to cause this. Enjoy the meteor shower and take the end of the world prophesies somewhere else.
No kidding. Fear-mongering is an old and, unfortunately, honored profession. Those old coots who wrote the Jewish Book of Fairy Tales knew it's a lot easier to control people who are afraid than those who aren't.
Has it ever occured to you that he may be joking?
That reminds me of a song...Straight otta Compton.
No, no, it's Dead Kennedys, "Well Paid Scientist": "The dark shattered underbelly of the American dream. Avoid it like the plague. It stares at you from your bathroom mirror ."
only 9 shopping days left until the end of the world
NASA is not your best source for meteor information. This is: http://www.amsmeteors.org/2012/12/meteor-activity-outlook-for-december-8-14-2012/ And how many people can identify Gemini and/or Pisces in the sky?
Could do without the condescending question, but thanks for the link.
Aaawww, did u get your feelings hurt? Lighten up, most Americans are uneducated boobs.
Robert w, I'm an American with a master's degree in civil engineering. I watch the sky every night it's clear. I can identify the planets, the dippers and Orion's belt. I could give a rat's ass where Gemini or Pisces are. This article gives me no info i can use as to where or when to look for these, therefore, it's pretentious and useless. Kind of like you.
There's this cool site called the Google. If you go there – http:/www.google.com – you type in things you're looking for, like "When and where will Gemini rise in Asburry Park, NJ on 12.13.12?" Then the Google will dispatch at teams of elves and fairies to find you an answer. Usually the elves and fairies are very fast and you have an answer in less than a second or two. It's neat – you should try it.
I thought Asburry was near Haight in San Fran...you have me confused....I still havent recovered from Woodstock...Peace my friend...
well, if you have an iphone very simply....theres an app for that! called skyview, really cool actually. Easy! check it out. Id like to see people stop complaining about articles also. Lets try and stay positive and post as such?
I use the Night Sky app
I used to be able to identify comets like you then i took an arrow to the knee
It's not rocket science. Most people can learn the constellations quite easily.
Two nights ago, after fifty years of trying, I finally gave up on that, and Greek mythology too. I was pointing at the funny arrow constellation next to Jupiter and asking my son "Is that the thing Orion is holding? A bull or a snake or something?" Then last night I saw four meteors come straight out that constellation in 90 seconds. I realized it was game over and went to bed.
Heard of Google Sky?
Its an android app that lets you scan constellations around you throughout day and night.
i'm very excited about this shower. i will be in deepest, darkest west VA for the weekend and the viewing should be spectacular.
I hope you have good weather.
Hope you have a clear squeal like a piggie boy
There's quatch in them woods.
And one of these comet meteors will make it to the earth's surface and be carrying a virulent alien microbe that will either mutate or wipe out all life on earth within days! oh no!!! lol well it could happen....
No it could not happen. Space debris burns up upon re-entry, even the stuff that hits ground (a very tiny percent) will be thoroughly sterilized by the re-entry friction.
wrong. if the meteor is large enough to survive the entry, and the virus is deep enough inside, itll survive. Besides, the aliens would put the virus in a time release capsule within the debris to ensure its arrival to land.
dont matter though, you seem the type of "Know-it-all" cnn commentator that spends more time trying to "correct" posters than actually reading the news.
Nope is right. There was an article about aliens (skeleton men from Jupiter, I believe) who were planting viruses in cannon shells and shooting them at Earth. How could you have missed that?
It is completely untrue that the interior of a meteorite (a meteor that survives re entry to land on the earth) is sterilized by friction. Only the outer layer gets hot....and, in fact, there have been meteorites with frost on the outside!
You are WAY to serious...
"lamenting out loud" ?
will a warhead filled with anti biotics perhaps Keflex or erythromycin possibly eliminate this nasty meteor's virul payload and save our planet because I havent even started my Christmas Shopping yet ! ???
I'll be watching. Glad to hear the new find happens earlier in the evening.
I'll be watching the showers the next few nights, and see you all on the 22nd.
No you won't, the ancient Mayan Gods will have come back and wiped us out by then. lol
I guess the journalist figures everyone knows where the constellations are in the sky each night. I don't. Why didn't the reporter present the obvious? When and where to look?
Google is your friend
Maybe you could look up the position of the constellations on the internet instead of wasting your time trolling on the CNN journalist.
I understand when this is going to happen its between Tuesday and Friday night right. Are we here in OHIO going to be able to view this if anyone could let me know please do so. Thank you
At ten pm Gemini will be north east, at about 2 am it will be overhead and at about 4 am it will be north west. Gemini is always to the North of Orion. Look for two bright blue-white stars (very white to the naked eye) that are about a fist apart if you point your fist towards them.
As other have stated, there are several sites that will show you where to look, Astronomy magazine, or Sky and Telescope magazine, both feature a simplified monthly view of the sky. A full star chart would be confusing for an amateur.
To view meteors, get warm and comfortable away from lights and look up towards the north, and let your eyes relax, try to not focus on any particular object, and your eyes, as they acclimate to the darkness will become more sensitive, Sooner or later a bright streak will be noticed. Meteors radiate from the constellation they are named for, so you will see streaks away from the area of Gemini and they can go in almost any direction.
Be patient, stay warm and have fun.
Constellations change positions in the sky throughout the night, just like the moon. Depending on where you live and what time it is, Gemini will be in a different position. Try Google Sky, or...just look up.!
Look up. At night.
Glad to help.
Please – this is 2012 – and since you are posting it is clear you have internet access. Don't be so pathetically helpless. google. bing. other search engines. In any case just look up. They will fill the sky, just "radiate" from a constellation. Using just this info you can figure out where they are coming from. It really is that simple.
The position of the constellations is actually not important. The meteors will appear in all parts of the sky, so it does not matter in which direction to look. The direction of the trails will point to Gemini, but that does not help in observation.
The best direction to look is the direction of the darkest skies, away from the glow of the towns. The meteorites are faint and easily get lost in the light pollution.
Good thing its not on the 21st.
I have an appointment to get my tires rotated on the 22nd. Now I'm really nervous.Will there be enough air for my tires ?
It's easy to spot Sarah Palin during a meteor shower. She's the one with the umbrella.
Someone doesn't realize this is 2012 and not 2008.
and obama grinning trying to take credit for it all..........
And republicans waiting to blame him if something happens.
I agree with robbo88. Scientisits say they don't think anything will happen when they turn it on max. and collide the particles. I say they don't really know. A lot of "what if's" to it. They have already had the collisions-this time it's a "hold on to yer hats" moment that I don't like the sounds of. I understand it should be a small reaction...we'll see. In any case I think the end will probably be us messing with stuff we shouldn't, not so much a meteor shower.
The LHC has been operating for quite a while now and nothing has happened.
The Geminid meteor shower occurs EVERY year. This "new" shower is cool but hardly anything to worry about. We're talking particles the size of pebbles or small rocks, not giant asteroids.
> be us messing with stuff we shouldn't
Who decides what mankind should and shouldn't be messing with?
I've seen lots of meteor showers – both of the yearly known kinds (perseiddes are great usually!) and the unexpected kinds. Great green fireball one year that lasted for many seconds. The best at about midnite in Colo Spgs, CO – in about 1997, when it lite up the whole bedroom almost like daytime, broke the sound barrier so loudly our neighbors, a HALF MILE AWAY from us called asking "did your house just blow up – sounds like a gas explosion!" Best way to watch is to bundle up in warm clothes, lay out on a flat cot – have you some hot cocoa in a thermos & try to stay awake. Best time to usually watch – 2 am – that's when your position on Earth is hitting the path of comet, as if it was the front of your windshield of a car. We'll be up watching this time, may be a great show!
I'm assuming the neighbor called on a cell phone. Then again would you be answering your cell phone if your house blew up?
You are confusing meteors with meteor showers. You can see meteors almost any cloudless dark evening. meteor showers are predictable swarms of meteors of common origin.
EPA records show that portions of at least 100 drinking water aquifers have been written off because exemptions have allowed them to be used as dumping grounds.
“You are sacrificing these aquifers,” said Mark Williams, a hydrologist at the University of Colorado and a member of a National Science Foundation team studying the effects of energy development on the environment. “By definition, you are putting pollution into them. … If you are looking 50 to 100 years down the road, this is not a good way to go.”
As part of an investigation into the threat to water supplies from underground injection of waste, ProPublica set out to identify which aquifers have been polluted.
We found the EPA has not even kept track of exactly how many exemptions it has issued, where they are, or whom they might affect.
What records the agency was able to supply under the Freedom of Information Act show that exemptions are often issued in apparent conflict with the EPA’s mandate to protect waters that may be used for drinking.
Though hundreds of exemptions are for lower-quality water of questionable use, many allow grantees to contaminate water so pure it would barely need filtration, or that is treatable using modern technology.
The EPA is only supposed to issue exemptions if aquifers are too remote, too dirty, or too deep to supply affordable drinking water. Applicants must persuade the government that the water is not being used as drinking water and that it never will be.
What in the world are you talking about? This is a blog about meteors!
people that read this type of article would be more apt to understand his rant than say someone reading an article about 12-12-12 concert so he posts it here
Is there a web site for more information on the EPA and the aquifers?
I invented aquifiers. Tell me more about Bigfoot contaminating forests.
Where is the "report stupidity" button ???
As of 12-11-12, I have seen more meteors in one night than I ever have.
We hear about every meteor shower, that maybe 1% might care to try to observe, yet the important stuff that really affect our lives, you never hear a mention of ...................
That's your problem. Stop reading what you are told to read or what is on the front page of an online news site and do a little research on current events.
I never see meteors during these supposed showers. But when there aren't supposed to be showers, I always see some. Thirty per hour isn't that good, and that's under super clear desert sky conditions. Realistically you may see one every ten minutes.
I think it's more likely that you just aren't paying attention to the right dates and times.. And 30 meteors an hour is a pretty decent amount. You're probably seeing satellites, which are much easier to find.
I regularly watch meteor showers. I often see more than the predicted rate, I have even on a few occasions seen 2 at the same time – cool !!! My guess is you either forget to go outside, or cant figure out when to watch.
this is a passive aggressive way of saying, "your a moron and I am superior"
The Aztecs are right. A meteor will strike earth and God will save us.
and i've got a bridge to sell you.
Where is it? How much do you want? Can I see Russia from there? The meteor shower?
Aztecs =/= Mayans.
And the Mayans never predicted an apocalypse. That was all the work of modern people in the past few decades. We seem to like predicting apocalypses on the dates when our calendars roll over, as witness the years 1000 and 2000, but the real world doesn't feel any compulsion to go along with that idea. The Mayan Long Count calendar (by one interpretation of the correspondence of dates) is scheduled to roll over. Big deal.
I find it very interesting though on 12/21/12 (end of Mayan calendar) a massive meteor shower will be happening and the large hadron particle accelerator in Switzerland will be testing high voltage collisions which they say will break records in high voltage clashes. Just saying!
This is hardly a "massive" meteor shower. The Geminids occur EVERY year and this "new" shower, while interesting, is hardly some massive shower that's going to dwarf all others. In any case we're talking particles the size of pebbles or small rocks, not massive asteroids here.
And the LHC has been testing like that for MONTHS now. They may "break" records, but the physics are relatively understood. They are NOT going to create a massive black hole that will destroy the Earth.
And 12/21/2012 is not the "end" of the Mayan calendar anymore than 12/31/2012 is the "end" of our calender or 12/31/2000 was the "end" of anything but the 20th Century.. In fact we HAVE records of Mayan dates BEYOND this current "cycle." All that's ending is a long cycle which will, like any other calender, then roll over to the next one.
Not sure what meteor shower you're referring to. The Geminids are the final meteor shower of the year, on the 13th-14th not the 21st.
Just saying nonsense.
I believe the now extinct Mayans will officially be on their 13th rendition of the Mayan Long-Count Calendar when 12/21/12 rolls around, the world didn't end the other 12 times that particular calendar ended and rolled over into a new one, why would it this time?
I think the guy writing the Mayan calendar stopped writing the calendar for one of these reasons:
1) he ran out of ink.
2) Coronado rushed in and beheaded him
3) He was seduced by some hot chick and decided Life is too short.
So now we face much ado over nothing. See you on the 22nd.
The meteor shower ends well before the 21st. Anything to fit the silly earth ending theory, eh?
WOW :0 thats something to see!!!!!
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