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Meteors and Meteorites: Geminids Live

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Meteors and Meteorites: Geminids Live

Evening Program + Virtual Night Sky Viewing with George Mason University Observatory

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Monday, December 14, 2020 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. ET
Code: 1A0132
This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.
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  • This program is part of our Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.
  • Platform: Zoom
  • Online registration is required.
  • If you register multiple individuals, you will be asked to supply individual names and email addresses so they can receive a Zoom link email. Please note that if there is a change in program schedule or a cancellation, we will notify you via email, and it will be your responsibility to notify other registrants in your group.

When a fragment of rock streaks through the atmosphere as a brilliant meteor (or “shooting star”), it sometimes makes landfall on the Earth. We call these surviving rocks meteorites, and they have inspired legends and lore for millennia. Modern science has shed these celestial rocks with a fascinating light, and from them we have learned the story of our solar system’s deepest history. Meteorites are the only way we can get our hands on pieces of a newly forming system of planets.

Around December 14, the annual Geminid meteor shower will be plentiful and bright around a new moon. Join George Mason University Observatory’s Peter Plavchan and geologist-turned-meteorite scientist Tim Gregory for a night illuminated by meteors and meteorites.

Gregory shows that beneath the charred crusts of these cosmic stones lies a staggering diversity of rock types. Their unique constituents, vibrant colors, and pungent smells contain thrilling tales of interstellar clouds, condensing stardust, and the fiery collisions of entire worlds. He explores the world of meteorites to uncover new insights into what our solar system was like before our sun became a star, into the forging of our planet, and into the emergence of life on it.

Returning for a second series with GMU, Plavchan brings the skies into your living room with remote control of the GMU Observatory. Weather permitting, enjoy a remote tour of the observatory and an all-sky camera viewing of the Geminid meteor shower after the program.  

UPDATE: MARK YOUR CALENDARS for future programs with GMU Observatory on Wed., Feb. 10 and Wed., March 17, 2021.

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