Last night marked the peak of this year's gorgeous Geminid meteor shower, perhaps the most stunning celestial lightshow of 2012. Photographs of last night's fireballs are still rolling in and stargazers can expect to spot intermittent meteors during predawn hours for the next few days, but here are ten of our favorites so far.
Pictured above: An 18-minute composite image of the Gemind meteor shower over Sussex, New Jersey, photographed by Jason Jenkins
Photographed by Colin Legg in Tasmania, Australia (Legg is the same astrophotgrapher behind this gorgeous timelapse of last month's total solar eclipse, which was only visible from Australia).
Photographed by Sean Parker in Tucson, Arizona, overlooking Gates Pass
Parker explains the process behind this (and the following) jaw-dropping composite shots on his website:
Here are some composites of about 30 frames from a time-lapse I shot of the Geminid Meteor shower at Gates Pass in Tucson, Arizona on the morning of 12-13-12. You can see M31 (Andromeda Galaxy 2.5million light years away) at the left next to the Milky way.
These images took a lot of work as I had to scroll through about 400 frames and find which frames had shooting stars in them, then cut out every meteor and blend.
Another gorgeous photo by Sean Parker overlooking Gates Pass in Tucson, AZ
One of our favorite meteor photos to date, captured by Bill Metallinos while setting up his telescope in Pilida, Corfu, Greece
Photographed by Mike Lewinski from Northern New Mexico
Photographed by Tommy Eliassen from Hemnes, Norway.
A pair of criss-crossing Geminids streaking across an aurora backdrop, again by Tommy Eliassen in Hemnes, Norway
Photographed by Amirreza Kamkar at Qeshm island, Persian gulf, Iran
Photographed by Brian Emfinger at Mount Magazine State Park, Arkansas