Astronomy enthusiasts in the city may be in for a treat next week. A short drive away from the city, one might be able to see Geminid meteor shower with naked eyes all through the night.
“Two PhD holding astrophysicists, Chintamani Pai and Virendra Yadav, will conduct the observation and guide the participants. They are part of a group called ‘Space Geeks’ and their third member is currently working with NASA,” said Rihen Ajmera, the founder of Awestrich, a travel experience company. It will organise the observation called ‘Astrophile’ on the outskirts of Panvel.
The Geminid meteor shower gets the name from the constellation Gemini as the meteors emerge from it. Unlike other meteor showers, Geminid is associated with asteroids that are metals and rocky material and not comets, made of ice, dust and rocky material. They are known to occur between December 4 and 16 every year.
“These are the most prolific showers as they can be observed with the naked eyes. The phenomena is observed every December. If you are in a good location, you can see around 200 to 250 meteor showers every hour,” added Ajmera.
Astrophile would be organised on December 13, when peak activity is expected, and December 16 in a village in Neri near Panvel.
“On the peak day, you can observe up to 200 showers per hour from a good location. Light pollution at Neri is less making it an ideal location for the observation. Since December 13 is a working day, we will organise it from 9.30 pm to 4.30 am. On the weekend, we are starting earlier, from 7.30 pm,” Ajmera said.
After the participants gather at the observation field, they would be given night sky charts and visual record tables to record their observations. Apart from meteors, they will also have a chance to make telescopic observations and discuss doubts with the astrophysicists.
“This is the first time that we are organising a space-based experience. I am personally interested in astronomy and wanted to conduct something on those lines. We then came across the Space Geeks, who had conducted such observations earlier for students. Since it is not a very popular concept in Mumbai, or even in India, we thought we should come together to organise this,” Ajmera said.
Even before the debut, the event has become so popular that tickets, each priced at Rs 1,499, have been sold out for both days.