Friday, December 10, 2010

Star Light, Star Bright... – The Geminds are Coming

 I remember when I was a child in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Daddy was stationed on a radar site high up on the desert mesa.  I’d lie out on the lawn on warm summer nights, doing nothing, just looking up at the night sky.  Every night, the moon would rise and stroll from horizon to horizon; she would wax and wane; and when she was but a sliver in the sky, the stars would shine brilliant above me.

If I watched long enough, some nights I was gifted with a shooting star.  Someone told me it was not really a star, but it was a star to me.  I would send up a fervent wish for it to grant followed by the childish chant:  “Star light, star bright, I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight. 

I live in the city now, and stars cannot compete with the city smog and lights.  Still, I can see a bit of sky from my mom’s back yard in the suburbs that is not obliterated by the distant city lights.  I could sit for hours and just stare up at the sky.  The 14th, the Geminids are coming - so many shooting stars to wish upon.  

At its peak the Geminids can produce 60 shooting stars an hour or one every 30 seconds depending on your source, and peaks December 13–14.  Broken fragments from a pseudo asteroid-comet called 3200 Phaethon with a mysterious composition create the Geminids, which become more intense every year.  2010 is a good year to see the them as the moon won't be full enough to detract from the meteor shower visibility. 

So to all y’all out there, gather your wishes and go out after midnight when the moon has set and wish upon a shooting star or two or three or more Geminid shooting stars.

© Perle Champion

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