Just a quick reminder that tonight is the peak of the annual Geminids meteor showers, arguably the best meteor shower viewing of the year. In most areas it will be visible around 1am - 2am, although they should be visible all through the night. As with all astronomical events, it is best to get as far away from the city lights as possible, and to stay in darkness for as long as possible to allow your eyes to reach maximum sensitivity. Unfortunately, I won't be able to travel this year (and the weather here is miserable and stormy as well), but for those of you who can - or better yet who have the luxury of living in a remote area - it is a worthwhile event.

The Geminids are a particularly interesting meteor shower for other reasons as well. They are believed to be generated by the 3200 Phaeton object (which is basically a big rock in space) which is throwing off rocky debris. If this is true, then they are one of only two major meteor showers not generated by comets. However there is some uncertainty as to their origin, as some astronomers do not believe that Phaeton can generate sufficient dust and rock to account for the large number of observed meteors.

Whatever their source, they have been impressing audiences since 1862, and will do so again every December for the near future. So if you have access to clear skies and low light pollution, go out and enjoy Nature's Christmas lights!