Geminid meteor shower: How to catch the cosmic light show

Conditions are ideal for the yearly Geminid meteor shower, but to really get the full effect, you'll have to get out of Montreal, a McGill expert says.

Spectacle will peak late Sunday night, best viewed outside large cities

The Geminid meteor shower happens when the Earth passes through dust debris left behind by comets. (The Associated Press)

Get ready for a cosmic light show tonight, as the new moon will make it ideal to watch the yearly Geminid meteor shower.

But to really get the full effect, you'll have to get out of Montreal, a local space expert says.

"There's way too much light pollution here," Kelly Lepo, co-ordinator of the McGill Space Institute, told CBC Montreal's Daybreak.

​And you might have to put up with some rain forecast for tonight.

The Geminid shower happens around this time every year as the Earth passes a dust cloud left behind by meteors that circle the solar system.

But this year, conditions are just right for a true spectacle.

"We'll have a waxing crescent moon, which means it's extra dark at night," Kelly said.

The shower is expected to peak on Sunday night to Monday morning around 2 or 3 a.m., but it can be seen on the nights prior, after the moon sets.

Expect to see up to 120 falling stars per minute during the peak.

However, the weather could hide much of the show. Environment Canada is forecasting clouds and rain Sunday night, so be prepared for disappointment.

The Royal Astronomical Society will host a viewing party on Sunday, Dec. 13 at 8 p.m. at the Morgan Arboretum in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue. Details here.

Slideshow: the Perseid meteor shower in August

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