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From August 28, 1859, until September 2, numerous sunspots and solar flares were observed on the sun. Just before noon on September 1, the British astronomer Richard Carrington observed the largest flare, which caused a major coronal mass ejection (CME) to travel directly toward Earth, taking 17 hours. Such a journey normally takes three to four days. This second CME moved so quickly because the first one had cleared the way of the ambient solar wind plasma.
Meteor shower Geminids and Planetary Alignments in December 2012! Before we approach the ‘Winter Solstice’ on December 21, we will be observing the next meteor shower named “Geminids”. This meteor shower gets the name “Geminids” because it appears to radiate from the constellation Gemini. The Geminid meteor shower peaks on Dec. 13th and 14th when Earth runs through a stream of debris from a strange object that some astronomers are calling a “rock comet.” The Geminids are a unique meteor shower in that their identified parent body is not a comet, but what seems to be an asteroid! Of the meteor showers with known parent bodies studied by meteor scientists, the Geminids are the only shower to have an asteroidal parent body; all others have a cometary origin.
December 13/14, 2012, late night December 13 until dawn December 14 Geminids The final major meteor shower of every year (unless one surprises us!) is always the December Geminid shower, often producing 50 or more meteors per hour. It is a beloved shower, because, as a general rule, it’s either the August Perseids or the December Geminids that give us the most prolific display of the year. Best of all, the new moon guarantees a dark sky on the peak night of the Geminid shower (mid-evening December 13 until dawn December 14). But the nights on either side of the peak date should be good as well. Unlike many meteor showers, you can start watching the Geminids by 9 or 10 p.m. local time. The peak might be around 2 a.m. local time on these nights, because that’s when the shower’s radiant point is highest in the sky as seen around the world. With no moon to ruin the show, 2012 presents a most favorable year for watching the grand finale of the meteor showers. Best viewing of the Geminids will probably be from about 1 a.m. to 3 a.m. on December 14.