Wednesday, December 15, 2010


The Geminids (a December meteor storm whose focal point is the constellation of Gemini) peaked on the morning of December 14th. I had kinda planned on trying to see a couple on my way out to the car to go to work. However, around 5:30am the Mrs came in and told me to get up with lil N who had been up since 4am (ugh!). At first, this was a big drag. However, it was a blessing in disguise. I went into the kitchen which faces west and looked out the window. And that's when I saw my first Geminid meteor. Looking through the window was a bit difficult at first since the lamp in the other room was in the wrong spot and was reflecting regardless of where I was. I finally went in and switched which lamp was on. Eventually lil N inquired what I was doing. I said "I'm looking for shooting stars". And she said enthusiastically "Reeeeallly?" And I said, "Yes. Do you want to sit with me and watch some?" She said "YeahhhhhH!". So I turned off the TV and all the lights, opened up the blinds on the sliding door which faces west, put two chairs right in front of the windows, sat her down and pointed towards Gemini (just above Orion) and said "Watch right up there". I no more than sat down and "woooooosh!", a bright white shooting star streaked to the west, leaving a smoke trail (which quickly went away) in its path. Lil N exclaimed "I saw it, I saw it!". I was so happy that she got to see one. And it was the best one of the morning. Yay! After about 5 more minutes, lil N started freaking out a bit. Turns out she was a little scared of the dark. So, I turned back on the TV and watched for a another half hour. Also of note, this was the first time I spotted satellites from inside as well, one of which happened to be my 300th object. Good stuff!

Here's the time-line for the morning of:
Date: 14-Dec-2010 Tuesday

5:30 AM - Geminid meteor - Heading SW

5:37 AM - Geminid meteor - Heading WSW

5:37 AM - Geminid meteor - Heading WSW

5:44 AM - Geminid meteor - Heading SW

5:44 AM - Geminid meteor - Heading W

5:45 AM - Geminid meteor - Heading SW

5:53 AM - Geminid meteor - Heading W
This was one that lil N and I saw together; the bright one that left a smoke trail

5:56 AM - Geminid meteor - Heading W

6:11 AM - Yaogan 1 - 2.6 Magnitude
Int'l Designator: 2006-015-A
This is my first sighting of Yaogan 1. This is a Chinese remote sensing satellite. While China stated that this was for "scientific experiments, land survey, crop yield" and etc, most speculate that this is actually a reconnaissance satellite named JB-5 1 and utilizes SAR. Also of note, supposedly Yaogan 1 broke up back in February 2010. This satellite was 'twinkling' so maybe that was the reason for this. Other satellite observers believe that something internal when wrong because if it was hit by another satellite it would be in many more pieces that it is.

6:17 AM - Geminid meteor - Heading NW

6:22 AM - Geminid meteor - Heading S

6:22 AM - Geminid meteor - Heading W

6:11 AM - Cosmos 1937 Rocket - 4.2 Magnitude
Int'l Designator: 1988-029-B
This is my second sighting of this Kosmos-3M rocket. This particular rocket launched Cosmos 1937, a Russian Strela-2M communications satellite.

6:24 AM - Geminid meteor - Heading NW

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