2010 Geminids

Geminids is one of the most reliable meteor showers, with peak rate of more than 100 meteors/hour. Since its peak occurs on Dec 13-14th, cold weather across the world makes it less famous than its counterpart – Perseids.

THe weather forecast called for overcast/rain on Dec 13th night. Despite of being foggy for 3 days in the valley, I decided to go to Henry Coe State Park on Dec 12th night, hoping to get clear sky up there before the storm rolled in.

On the way up to the park, fog became so dense that I could not even see the road sometime. But the fog finally cleared up when we were approaching to the parking lot, and the sky was clear!!!

My kid and I arrived at the parking lot just before 10PM and Gemini was already high in the sky. The first quarter moon did not set until 11:30PM, but it had very little interference on the observation as it was low on the west (behind me). The fog covered the entire valley and it was the darkest sky the one could ever get near the bay area once the moon set.

I voice recorded meteor activities using my cellphone, between 10PM Dec 12th and 3:15AM Dec 13th 2010, except for the period between 23:30PM ~ 00h20AM as I was watching Geminids with my son. The activity of Geminids during this period was at the same level as the rest of observation. The high clouds rolled in at 3:30AM, though it was still observable I decided to head back home. Within 240 minutes, I recorded 344 meteors – 53 SPOs and 291 PERs, and my kids saw at least 60 meteors in less than an hour. It made this another very pleasant trip.
Almost all Geminids observed were of white color, with no train left behind. They were largely moderate bright (2~4m) and traveled at medium to fast speed. There were a few bright, yellow Geminids which produced train. No fireball was observed.