Sunday, December 16, 2012

“The dew was falling fast, the stars began to blink; I heard a voice; it said `Drink, pretty creature, drink!'” - William Wordsworth

The Geminids Are Out
(Credit:  Pandadumpster @ Flickr)

This picture looks exactly like the sky we were viewing.  


It's the most wonderful time of the year - for viewing the Geminid meteor showers.  In years past the showers have coincided with a bright full moon.  This December the annual event peaks on the new moon insuring a dark background of a sky for optimum observing with the naked eye.  After a few shout-outs on social media I had myself a little Geminid party heading for the beach - the darkest place in our area to observe the cosmic fireworks show. 

 I suggested any stargazers bundle up because our Florida temperature had taken a serious dip in the mercury. Shortly after sundown we arrived on the beach armed with blankets, pillows, & thermoses of hot chocolate. We settled in on the cold damp sand with our eyes scoping out the darkening horizon for meteors.  With the help of our smart phones and various sky watching apps, we were able to watch Orion rise above the horizon first.  Our eyes were trained on the sky to the east where the constellation Gemini was to the left of Orion.  The meteors were supposed to originate from that vicinity. 

 The inky night sky echoed with our shrieks of oh's and ahh's as a first meteor blasted over head leaving a blazing  trail behind it.  We were all meteorite-newbies so it was like seeing a first dolphin in the wild or a first double-rainbow.  The excitement-and-wonder-meter was on overload. We stopped counting after 80 or so meteors. Meteors shot across the sky about every 5 minutes or so.  The awe of seeing each one never dimmed.  The last one was just as amazing as the first one.  The sea fog rolled in like a misty curtain signaling the end to the show around 11 pm. The flashes from our camera phones and loud laughter had drawn the attention of law enforcement who walked out to our little star-gazing camp on the beach to see what all the fuss was about.  As they shined their flashlights on us they seemed amused to find only a group of friends drinking hot chocolate and watching the meteor shower. 

The Geminid meteor shower is an annual event - look for it next December.  Here's some good tips for watching.


Geminids 2012 - Winter Hexagon
(Credit:  Reonides @ Flickr)

It takes skill and expensive camera equipment to catch a shot like this - both of which I am deficient in.  The sky we were laying under looked just like this.

Laying on your back is the best position for viewing.

(L to R) Wade-ster, Gee-man, & Momma Gee are always ready for some outdoor fun. 

Oh the weather outside is frightful - but the sky is so delightful!

Terri & Dana enjoying the show.


Balancing precariously on the back chairs legs
 enabled me to view the sky without  having to  crane my neck.

11 comments:

  1. That looks like so much fun! What a great way to enjoy the show.

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  2. Another fabulous way to enjoy the beach! What a neat thing to do. We used to set up our telescope on our land in the mountains of NC and look at the stars. We were always amazed at how many airplanes we could see in the sky! Great fun!

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  3. How much fun!!! thanks for posting! i wasn't able to see any of them :( Maybe next year on Sanibel?!!! woo hooo!

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  4. Really another fantastic way to enjoy the beach.This is the most wonderful, exciting place on florida.florida vacation villas

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  5. I've never viewed a meteor shower from the beach, so it's going on my list. Looks like fun was had by all, and the blankets and cocoa must have been nice to have :)

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  6. I missed it!!!!!!!!!!!!! sigh...and I live in the most perfect place for viewing. Out in the boonies with no light around except the light from the sky.
    Alas....I had to go to the big city of Dallas to babysit my grandson. I set the blankets out and was all ready to watch the show. Nada. too many city lights to see a thing. so sad. Watching meteor showers is one of my fave things to do and is a beautiful memory of my grown sons. We always made a party out of it.
    So thanks for your beautiful images and words!!

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  7. Funny pictures... and a great way to enjoy the beach!!! I've missed it, so I have to enjoy pretty beach weather today!!!

    Have a great day!
    Jutta

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  8. I know what you're talking about! My son is a stargazer and when he lived here with me, we went out to sea one night to watch a similar show...got cold, though. Cold and damp. But well worth the trip. :)

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  9. Very cool, I spent friday night staring at the beautiful sky and watched orions belt call it an evening over the mangrove shoreline of Cayo. I took time off for myself, slept on the boat and just enjoyed. Also an early birthday present.The 16th I turned 44. I thought what better place to spend it than Cayo. Can't wait to get back.

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  10. ...it's me again, Karen. I'm in the area for a few days. Would be great to get some tips for shelling :-)

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  11. You do some of the coolest things!! Wish I were close enough to participate. Hugs from Christmas!!

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