2012 Geminids Recap

The 2012 Geminid meteor shower is now over. Dark Moon-less skies allowed for observers to get many hours of prime Geminid observing in. Here in southern Arizona the weather produced a different sort of showers on the night of the maximum as rain fell for the first time in a month. Luckily it was clear the night before maximum and rates were surprisingly strong.

The International Meteor Organization hosts a Live ZHR page that tabulated visual meteor observations from observers from all over the world and updates the shower’s activity profile in real-time. As of Dec 22, 133 observers in 36 countries reported 18,000 meteors.

Peak activity was predicted for 23:30 hours UT on December 13 making the peak effectively 0 hours UT on the 14th. From the ZHR profile below, the best rates did occur within a few hours of the predicted peak. At that time the ZHR reached ~120 meteors per hour. Even under less than perfect skies, a fine show was guaranteed.



The IMO Live ZHR page also presents a map of the location of all 133 observers. I always find it interesting to see the distribution of meteor observers around the world. The radiant of the Geminids is located at a declination of +33° making this shower easier to see from the Northern Hemisphere. Though still visible from the latitudes of Australia, New Zealand and the middle of South America, the shower would be low on the northern horizon and rates would be much less than seen up north. Still a fair number of Southern Hemisphere observers reported meteors. It is nice to see many more observations coming in from across Asia especially in countries like Iran, India, Nepal and Thailand.




  1. Hi,
    Tucson Arizona– both my husband and myself saw a fireball at 10:40 p.m. 12/21/12 appeared moving slowly, west to east, bright green and yellow, appeared to expode white and disappeared over the Catalina Mtns. Can find no other internet confirmation. Can you confirm if others
    witnessed it also? Thanks,
    G. Raszkiewicz

    1. Yes, others also reported this bright fireball. The American Meteor Society has received at least 4 reports which can be found here:


      Look for the reports from AZ and El Paso at around 5:40 UT on 12/22.

      Also Rik Hill of the Catalina Sky Survey saw it as it passed over Mount Lemmon. Catalina’s allsky camera caught the first few seconds of the fireball. Unfortunately most of the fireball was missed because the camera was between exposures.

      Such small bright fireballs are a real treat to see. Glad you were able to witness it.

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