Geminids 1996: visual results team Pisces Orientalis
DMS-members observing the Geminids 1996

On december 13 Annemarie Zoete, Hans Betlem, Guus Docters van Leeuwen, Hans Kluck, Jeffrey Landlust, Els Riep, Ingrid Goudsmit, Michelle van Rossum, Marinel Futselaar, Jaques Polman and Olga van Mil left Rotterdam for the tiny village of Varsseveld in the eastern part of the Netherlands. They had prepared themselves for the Geminids, although the weather predictions were unfavourable. When everybody left Rotterdam, around 1h PM local time, it was completely overcast and nobody believed in a happy end.

Immediately after arrival in Varsseveld the weather predictions were checked. Clear spells for the evening and a cloudless night were predicted. It looked very fine for us.

We started preparing our equipment as station Varsseveld planned visual, photographic and video observations. After a good meal we went outdoors. It just started clearing up and the last banks of clouds disappeared quickly. We decided to start our observations even under a partly cloudy sky to enable our new observers (Michelle and Marinel) to learn the constellations. Also we explained to Jaques Polman how meteor observations are done. By the way: He left around 22h PM local time.

Around 19:30 UT the sky was cloudless and the observations started. Immediately high numbers of long Geminids were seen. For many members of our group it was the first Geminid campaign they took part in and many were surprised by the high rates. Jaques Polman observed 50 Geminids in the first hour of his observations. Around 4:00 UT several observers stopped their efforts as they got too tired and cold. They went indoors to get warm and to find their beds. Jeffrey, Hans, Hans, Olga and Michelle did not stop until the early morning twilight. Around 5:30 UT Jeffrey, Hans and Hans started dismantling a part of the equipment. Olga and Michelle completed the session up to 6:00 UT. The photography went on until that time.

With a cup of hot soup we discussed the night for a while and then went to bed. It had been a rather comfortable night. Nobody had suffered from cold (it was only -5 deg.) and the meteors went on and on. On December 14 during daytime the observations were partly reduced but the day was only short. The evening of December 14 started cloudless but clouds and rain coming in from the North were predicted. Hans, Jeffrey and Olga started their observations early. Around 21:00 UT they sky became overcast. We stopped and the cameras were brought indoors.

January 12, 1997
Olga van Mil

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