An astronomical event: the Geminid showers of December
For the last 150 year on a cold day in mid December, stargazers warm themselves with thoughts of excitement over the arrival of an amazing "annual cosmic" event.
Late tonight is the peak of the year's most prolific annual cosmic fireworks show—the Geminid meteor shower
This shower is believed to have originated from the extinction of 3200 Phaethon, an ancient comet. 2009 is being recoined as what could be the best year for viewing this event due to the shower's arrival so close to the new moon.
It is, basically, the rocky skeleton of a comet that lost its ice after too many close encounters with the sun. Earth runs into a stream of debris from 3200 Phaethon every year in mid-December, causing meteors to fly from the constellation Gemini
As this shower is reported to intensify as each year passes, lucky onlookers should be surprised by the astronomical occasion that unveils itself to spectators this evening and into the early hours of tomorrow.
The Geminids are slow meteors that create beautiful long arcs across the sky—many lasting a second or two.
Favoring observers in the Northern Hemisphere, the Geminids are expected to be most frequent within two hours of 1:10 a.m. ET in the wee hours of Monday.
The shower's radiant—the point in the sky from which the meteors appear to originate—is the constellation Gemini, which rises above the eastern horizon after 9 p.m. local time.
Hopefully, the snowy skies that are covering a good majority of Canada today can part for even a short while tonight to display this evenings show of lights.