Night sky a blaze of shooting stars


TORONTO, Monday, Dec. 11, 2017 – Debris from asteroid 3200 Phaethon, whose namesake is the son of Greek sun god Helios, will put on one of the best meteor showers of the year this week, says York University astronomy Professor Paul Delaney of the Faculty of Science.

Dust, grit and bits of rock moving at about 35 km/sec will flare up as they vaporize in Earth’s atmosphere.

Known as the Geminids meteor shower, dozens of meteors or shooting stars, several likely to be bright and colourful, will streak through the sky creating quite a show, as long as the clouds clear. Although happening most of this month, the height of the meteor display will occur Wednesday night into Thursday morning under near moonless skies.

The best way to see it is to find a dark area as far from lights as possible. However, even city light pollution cannot extinguish this meteor shower for observers. Although the meteors will seem to originate from the Gemini constellation, they can be seen anywhere in the night sky.

Delaney is available to discuss what to expect and why this particular meteor shower is worth braving the winter cold to see.


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