The Geminid meteor shower lasts this year from 1 December to 22 December. HRPO personnel are planning to have the facility open from 9pm to 1am on the peak night of Sunday 13 December. The only government property in EBR Parish people are allowed to use for viewing this event is probably the Highland Road Park Observatory. HRPO is definitely the only BREC property on which people can be for the Geminids. The viewing session has no admission fee and all ages are allowed.
The waning crescent Moon will be below the horizon during the entire viewing session; Mars, the Plieades and the Orion Nebula will grace the skies. At 12:55am CST, the bright Southern Hemisphere star Canopus (F-class) will shine with a fierce glow just a few degrees off the horizon due south.
One should lie comfortably on the ground on a blanket or tarp that can get dirty. Alternatively, use a lawn chair or some other reclining chair. Most of the time, one should keep the head angled to a point about halfway to two-thirds from horizon to zenith.
General tips for viewing meteors include...
*Dress warmly. You'd be surprised how much body heat you lose while immobile (especially in the winter).
*Do not consume alcohol of any sort. Even before consumption has given you a "buzz", it has hindered night vision.
*Do not allow your electronic device (flip phone, smart phone, tablet etc.) to glow in your eyes unless you can have it glow red and faint. There will be instructions inside the main building for setting iPhones and Androids to a red-light display.
*Do not take your eyes off the sky! Even the slowest meteors are quite fast. Talk and socialize if desired, but everyone around should understand that searching for meteors is taking precedent.
*Do not break any laws or ignore any basic safety principles to increase the chance of seeing more meteor streaks; it's not worth it.
If you choose to view from your private property, make advanced plans to extinguish any personal outer lights and to request that any neighbors do the same. If you have a civic or homeowners' association, consider making a motion to adopt a policy to switch to and maintain full cut-off (FCO) lighting year-round; this will make your neighborhood perpetually "ready" for viewing meteors in the night sky. (That permanent setup will also help views of comets, star clusters, nebulae and even the Milky Way Galaxy!)
Please do not go anywhere for which you've not been given permission, or anywhere that is unsafe.
Seen any good fireballs lately?
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