HEAVENLY GEMINIDS: The Geminid meteor shower peaked on Dec. 14th with as many as 140 meteors per hour, according to the International Meteor Organization. The shower was rich in fireballs (meteors brighter than Venus). NASA’s network of all-sky meteor cameras captured more than 400 fireballs over the USA alone. In Japan, astrophotographer “Kagaya” set up his camera at the Oarai Isosaki-jinja Shrine in Ibaraki and caught a Geminid disintegrating brilliantly behind one of the shrine’s iconic Torii gates:
In the Shinto religion, Torii gates are considered portals to the sacred. In this case, it led to a heavenly Geminid. “I waited by the gate 4 hours to catch a meteor in just the right position for a good photo–well worth it for a fireball of this magnitude,” says Kagaya. “Note that you can see the meteor’s reflection in the water,” he points out.