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Chance to see the cosmos’ Christmas display

Last week I wrote about the joy of seeing all the festive holiday lights on display throughout my neighborhood. Outer space offers up its own lighted spectacle this weekend with the annual Geminids meteor shower, which peaks Sunday into Monday.

The Geminids are a consistently reliable sky show, with up to 120 meteors visible per hour when conditions are favorable. The moon is in its waning phase and over Dec. 13-14, it will merely be a sliver in the night sky. This should help with meteor spotting, but the partly cloudy skies and freezing temperatures predicted that night could pose a challenge.

NASA (solarsystem,nasa.gov) reports the Geminids result from Earth’s passing through the debris trail of the space object 3200 Phaethon. The identity of 3200 Phaethon is somewhat of a mystery; it was thought to be an asteroid, but it’s possible that the object is a “dead comet” or a “rock comet” based on a number of scientific observations that include its orbital path around the sun and the density of its meteoroid matter.



The Geminids peak at 2 a.m. on Dec. 14. If you’re so inclined and willing to brave the cold, head outdoors to find a place away from other light sources and look eastward near the constellation Gemini. It’s easiest for me to first locate Orion’s Belt (identifiable as three, seemingly evenly spaced, aligned stars) and shift my gaze left to find the bright, twin “heads” of Gemini: the stars Castor and Pollux. Castor appears above and slightly left of Pollux. 

Although Gemini is the radiant, or place in the sky where the meteors appear to originate, the “shooting stars” from this shower may be visible anywhere across the expanse of sky. It helps to keep your eyes soft and alert while scanning the darkness.



The Geminids are active through Dec. 17. If you find yourself outside anytime after dark in the next week or so, look up and you might just spot some natural fireworks.

New pathways to giving back at Carson Valley Golf Course

If you’ve passed the Carson Valley Golf Course recently, you may have noticed the construction underway. Owner Manya Brooks said they’re creating a new concrete cart path while also expanding the putting green and the grass bunker. Estimated time of completion for the project is spring.

Brooks also said the golf course is taking a different approach to their “12 Days of Christmas” promotion this year. Each day through Dec. 15, CVGC is gifting four lucky golfers a $25 gift certificate to a local business within the Carson Valley.

Taking inspiration from a similar program started by Lake Tahoe AleWorX, Brooks sees the giveaway as a creative way to support the “shop small” movement.

“It’s nice to be able to say thank you to our customers while supporting other local businesses at the same time,” she said.

Businesses included in the giveaway are: Battle Born Wine, Chocolate Shoppe, Coffee on Main, CoComoes, Cook’d, Cottonwood Creek Gifts, JT Basque, Minden Meat and Deli, Overland Restaurant and Bar, Shelby’s Book Shoppe, The Pink Rose, and This & That Marketplace.

CVGC is located at 1027 Riverview Drive in the Gardnerville Ranchos. Call them at 775-265-3181.

Amy Roby can be reached at ranchosroundup@hotmail.com.