Monday, 15 December 2014

The Geminids

The maximum of the Geminid meteor shower, one of the best of the year, was early on Sunday morning but it was too overcast to see anything.  Last night, when I went outside just before eleven, the skies were fizzing with shooting stars, with one particularly good orange fireball which left a trail of sparks.  But, as with all such things, by the time I had my camera on its tripod ready for action, the show had stopped.

The Geminids radiate out from the constellation Gemini, which is easy to find.  In the picture, which looks roughly southeast, Orion with his three-starred belt is at bottom right, while the main stars of Gemini are the two bright stars at top left.  Jupiter is the bright and slightly orangey planet towards bottom left, and Taurus is at top right.

I got up a further three times during the night, but the sky was either cloudy or, when I did set up the camera, a cloud appeared and discouraged me with a pelting of hail.  I might try again tonight: I have yet to catch a shooting star on camera.

Ben Hiant was clear of snow by midday yesterday, but it was back by this morning, and the mountains away down the Sound of Mull have a good covering of snow.  It has turned colder, a damp chill, but at least it isn't windy.  After such a mild November, we're slipping quickly into real winter.

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