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                   Friday, December 14, 2012 - 12:00AM CST

Geminid meteor shower part II, December 14

By DAN ROBINSON
Editor/Photographer
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HD TIMELAPSE: Timelapse animation of Geminid photo shoot

I did two photo sessions of the Geminids tonight, doing 15-second exposures for about 45 minutes each time. Meteor rates were impressive, about 20 per minute at the peak of the display I saw at around 3:30AM CST. This was the best show I'd seen in terms of numbers since the 2001 Leonids (though this one is still a distant second to that once-in-a-lifetime shower). I saw many bright fireballs at the 3:30AM peak, though I missed all but a sliver of one of them.

Click images for larger versions

Although I missed the brightest fireballs, this quick burst of brighter-than-usual Geminids rained down in the 90 seconds immediately following the passage of a Norfolk Southern train at the Billhartz Road crossing east of New Baden. This is a 6-image stack:

A couple more from Billhartz Road:

Here's the brightest capture from the night's first session, looking due south from New Baden:

This is a 16-frame stack with 3 meteors, looking south (I had to stack all of the frames in between meteors to keep the star trails continuous):

Here's a 8-frame stack with 2 meteors, looking southeast:

And for the fun of it, a 101-frame stack with 6 meteors, some harder to see than others. The long streaks are aircraft:

Finally the one true fireball I caught, but only partially in the corner of the frame:

I'm always thankful to get out and watch these displays here in my 360-degree sky view backyard.

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