ESOcast 52: It's Raining Stars!
Second installment in Chile Chill series
15 January 2013
On 14–16 December 2012, the Geminid meteor shower made a spectacular appearance over ESO's Paranal Observatory in Chile. As the meteors showered down over the site, ESO Photo Ambassador Gianluca Lombardi was ready with his camera to record the spectacle. He spent over 40 hours recording the shower.
The Geminids is a shower of shooting stars appearing to emanate from within the constellation of Gemini (The Twins). This shower occurs when the Earth cuts through the orbit of an asteroid named 3200 Phaethon, which happens once each year, in December. Particles in the trail of dust along the orbit of Phaethon burn up in our atmosphere, creating the brilliant, fast-moving points of light characteristic of meteor showers.
This is the second installment of Chile Chill, a type of ESOcast designed to offer a calm experience of the Chilean night sky and ESO’s observing sites, undisturbed by narration. The Very Large Telescope (VLT), filmed at Paranal, can be seen shooting a laser up into the sky to create an artificial star, which helps the telescope to produce super-sharp images. Small meteors can be seen flickering across the sky, some of which leave long trails. These are easy to confuse with both the occasional aircraft that fly across the frame, and the International Space Station, which flits through the sky as a bright pinprick of light.
The video is set to instrumental music composed by Toomas Erm.
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