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Lahore May Miss out on Annual Geminid Meteor Shower Due to Weather

Photo Credit: nasa.gov
by TR Pakistan

Unlike the rest of the world, residents of Lahore are not in for a treat tonight and may miss the Geminid meteor shower between 7pm and 6am due to cloudy weather conditions.

This year’s Geminid meteor shower is going to be the most spectacular event yet since it will offer observers under clear skies a view of at least 75 Geminid meteors. If the observer is watching from a rural setting far from city lights, then the count could exceed 100. From urban locations, viewing will be limited to around 50 meteors during this period.

One cannot guess how many of these meteors will be visible to residents of Lahore. A representative of Lahore Astronomical Society told TR Pakistan that organising a public viewing of the meteor shower would not be feasible as the city’s sky was not clear.

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The Geminids are one of the few annual meteor showers that are active all night long. The area of the sky where the meteors seem to come from is located near the bright star Castor (alpha Geminorum). This star rises around 7.50pm (PST). At that time, a few Geminid meteors may be seen streaking slowly upward toward the zenith. These early Geminids are special as the geometry at this time of night only allows them to skim the top of the atmosphere.

These meteors will last longer and will produced longer streaks in the sky compared to Geminids later on in the night. These meteors are referred to as “earthgrazers”. The number of meteors seen at this time will be low, but they will be impressive nonetheless.

As the night progresses the Geminid radiant will rise higher into the sky. The meteors will seem quicker and shorter than those seen at dusk. Their numbers will also increase with each passing hour.

The Geminids are easy to photograph as they are bright and slower moving than most meteors. Any camera that can expose for a minute or longer can capture meteors. They will appear as straight streaks on your pictures. Star trails will be curved. The best area to aim a camera is not straight up but toward the darkest direction available with the camera aimed half-way up in the sky.

Not all the meteors will be members of the Geminid shower. There are also other weaker minor showers active this time of year in Taurus (Taurids), Monoceros (Monocerotids), Vela (Puppid-Velids), Hydra (Sigma Hydrids), and Leo Minor (December Leonis Minorids). These meteors will appear differently than the Geminids as they possess different velocities and will have different tracks across the sky.

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