Eyes to the sky for Geminid Meteor Shower

The planetarium at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center hosts programs seven days a week. The You-niverse program will highlight meteors and meteor showers Dec. 7-13.

Turn your eyes to the sky to be a part of the Geminid Meteor Shower. In the dark evening sky of Dec. 13, viewers should be able to witness many “shooting stars,” breathtaking streaks of light.

The Geminid Meteor Shower will be most visible Sunday evening, Dec. 13. No telescopes, binoculars or special equipment are needed. Katy Accetta, planetarium specialist at the Lake Erie Nature & Science Center, suggests midnight as the ideal time for viewing but says the spectacle should be visible as early as 10 p.m. Meteors will be visible as streaks of light through the air and should be observable throughout the sky, although she suggests looking east. A crescent moon will help by providing a dark night sky.

Meteors are composed of tiny bits of dust and rock left behind by soaring comets. When the Earth passes through this debris, these bits of comet litter penetrate the Earth’s atmosphere and begin to plummet towards the planet. They reach such incredible speeds that they ignite and catch fire.

“There’s no need to worry about safety when observing the phenomena,” says Accetta. The meteor itself remains very small, often no bigger than the tip of your pinky finger.

Those interested in learning more about comets, meteors and meteor showers are invited to participate in the Center's ongoing "You-niverse" program. This planetarium program for all ages runs each Tuesday and Thursday at 2 p.m. and on Saturdays and Sundays at 1 p.m. Admission is $3 per person. More information can be found at lensc.org or by calling the Center at 440-871-2900.

Wendy Hanna

Wendy Hanna is a staff member with Lake Erie Nature & Science Center

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Volume 7, Issue 23, Posted 9:54 AM, 12.01.2015