Geminids in the Sky

Geminids on December 14, 2023 (Photo by Stargazer Ron)

The mid-December Geminids were forecast to be a big meteor shower. Since it is caused by an asteroid it is one of the very few meteor showers not originating from a comet.

The show was supposed to peak at 100 per hour, but the Santa Barbara weather was predicted to be cloudy. Neither forecast happened: the skies were clear, but I saw only several meteors.

I did catch a few with my camera, however. Here’s one streaking from the upper left toward the Constellation Orion on the lower right.

The bright red star in the center of the frame is beautiful BetelgeuseEven at 550 light-years from Earth (compared to the brightest star Sirius at less than 9 light-years), it is still one of the brightest stars in the sky. That’s because it’s a supergiant with a diameter about 760 times that of the Sun.

The three stars below on a diagonal are Orion’s “belt” stars: Alnitak, Alnilam and Mintaka. Hanging down vertically from them is Orion’s sword with the purple/orange Great Orion Nebula visible in the middle — it is in fact a star nursery.

Details: Nikon D610 camera mounted on a star tracker, 35mm f/1.8 lens, 60 second exposure, IS0 200, December 14 at 1:26 AM.
Thanking Mother Nature for clear skies,
Stargazer Ron

Written by StargazerRon

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