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Geminid meteor shower: How and when to watch

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geminid meteor shower

The Geminid meteor shower peaks this week, so hope for clear skies that will let you see a beautiful show of green fireballs on Thursday and Friday. This will be the last — and strongest — meteor shower of the year, according to NASA.

This phenomenon was first recorded in 1862 and causes a show each December.
In the hours before sunrise Friday, the most meteors will be visible in the North American sky, peaking about 7:30 a.m. ET, predicts Sky & Telescope. To see when they will peak in your part of the world, check here.

But the morning isn’t your only chance. On Thursday and Friday, keep an eye on the sky a few hours after sunset — just keep the moon at your back.
Although the Geminid shower is known for its “shooting stars,” the number of meteors visible depends on the time and how dark it is. There will be fewer of them earlier in the evening, but the shower should hit a maximum of about 100 per hour around 2 a.m., NASA said. For those in the suburbs, expect about 30 to 40 per hour. And if you’re in a city like New York, San Francisco or Atlanta, you probably won’t see anything.

Early evening meteors may be longer, with dramatic streaks that last several seconds. Later on, the meteors will present quicker streaks or leave trails of smoke that appear to glow.
The asteroid 3200 Phaethon is responsible for this meteor shower, which is unusual because comets usually create meteor showers with icy debris. Scientists have debated the very nature of what Phaethon is. The closely tracked near-Earth asteroid has been likened to comets, so it’s been called a “rock comet.”
Phaethon was discovered in October 1983 and named after the Greek myth about the son of Helios, the sun god, because it closely approaches our sun.
Phaethon orbits the sun closer than any other asteroid and takes 1.4 years to orbit it. The asteroid heats to about 1,300 degrees Fahrenheit on closest approach to the sun, which causes it to shed dusty debris.

These particles cause the meteor shower when they plunge into Earth’s atmosphere at 22 miles per second, vaporizing in the streaks we call “shooting stars.”
If you live in an urban area, you may want to drive to a place that isn’t littered with city lights that will obstruct your view. If you’re able to find an area unaffected by light pollution, meteors could be visible every couple of minutes from 10 p.m. until dawn.

Find an open area with a wide view of the sky, and don’t forget to bundle up. Make sure you have a chair or blanket so you can look straight up. And give your eyes about 20 to 30 minutes to adjust to the darkness — without looking at your phone — so meteors are easier to spot.

While you’re keeping an eye out for the meteor shower, you might see a small, foggy green patch in the sky, NASA said. That will be Comet 46P/Wirtanen, which is making its closest approach to Earth — within 7 million miles — for the next 20 years. And it will be visible to the naked eye. The comet is expected to come closest to Earth and peak Sunday.

Source: https://edition.cnn.com/2018/12/12/world/geminid-meteor-shower/index.html

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9-year-old genius to graduate university

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Laurent Simons

(CNN) – A child prodigy from Belgium is on course to gain a bachelor’s degree at the tender age of 9.

Laurent Simons is studying electrical engineering at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE) — a tough course even for students of an average graduate age.

Described by staff as “simply extraordinary,” Laurent is on course to finish his degree in December.

He then plans to embark on a PhD program in electrical engineering while also studying for a medicine degree, his father told CNN.

His parents, Lydia and Alexander Simons, said they thought Laurent’s grandparents were exaggerating when they said he had a gift, but his teachers soon concurred.

“They noticed something very special about Laurent,” said Lydia.

Laurent was given test after test as teachers tried to work out the extent of his talents. “They told us he is like a sponge,” said Alexander.

While Laurent comes from a family of doctors, his parents have so far not received any explanation as to why their child prodigy is capable of learning so quickly.

But Lydia has her own theory.

“I ate a lot of fish during the pregnancy,” she joked.

The TUE has allowed Laurent to complete his course faster than other students.

“That is not unusual,” said Sjoerd Hulshof, education director of the TUE bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, in a statement.

“Special students that have good reasons for doing so can arrange an adjusted schedule. In much the same way we help students who participate in top sport.”

Hulshof said Laurent is “simply extraordinary” and praised the youngster.

“Laurent is the fastest student we have ever had here,” he said. “Not only is he hyper intelligent but also a very sympathetic boy.”

Laurent told CNN his favorite subject is electrical engineering and he’s also “going to study a bit of medicine.”

His progress has not gone unnoticed and he is already being sought out by prestigious universities around the world, although Laurent’s family wouldn’t be drawn on naming which of them he is considering for his PhD.

“The absorption of information is no problem for Laurent,” said his father.

“I think the focus will be on research and applying the knowledge to discover new things.”

While Laurent is evidently able to learn faster than most, his parents are being careful to let him enjoy himself too.

“We don’t want him to get too serious. He does whatever he likes,” said Alexander. “We need to find a balance between being a child and his talents.”

Laurent said he enjoys playing with his dog Sammy and playing on his phone, like many young people.

However, unlike most 9-year-olds, he has already worked out what he wants to do with his life: develop artificial organs.

In the meantime, Laurent has to finish his bachelor’s degree and choose which academic institution will play host to the next stage in his remarkable journey.

Before that, he plans on taking a vacation to Japan for an undoubtedly well-deserved break.

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New award to honor arts and activism named after Lena Horne

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Lena Horne

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Gang members slam BMW into rival and his 8-year-old son in Harlem

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Gang members slam BMW into rival and his 8-year-old son in Harlem

Two gangbangers aimed their BMW like a missile at a father and his 8-year-old son on a Harlem sidewalk in a horrifying incident captured by video distributed by police Thursday.

The BMW — driven by a man police believe is a member of the Gorilla Stone Bloods Gang — was zeroed in on the father, a rival gang member, said cops.

Around 3:45 p.m. Nov. 6, the boy and his father were walking on W. 112th St. by Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. when the BMW jumped the sidewalk and slammed into them both, said cops.

Father and son were both knocked through a gate.

The BMW driver then backed up — and its driver and passenger, also believed to be a gang member, jumped out of the car and ran toward the father and the son.

One of the attackers slashed the father, identified by sources as 32-year-old Brian McIntosh, who’s served prison time for robbery and bail jumping.

McIntosh and his son went to Harlem Hospital. Miraculously, the boy escaped serious harm.

McIntosh was so adamant about refusing to help police catch his attackers that the young boy’s mother had to file a police report alleging he was the victim of a crime, police sources said.

Cops released video of the attack, and ask anyone with information about the suspects to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS.

Source nydailynews.com/

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