Google marks Geminid meteor shower with a series of doodles

Geminids Meteor Shower Don't Miss This Spectacular Cosmic Show Tonight

The so-called "rock comet" came within 10.2 million km of Earth this past December, although last year's supermoon made it harder to appreciate the celestial light show.

Cpl. Chris Cramer of the Howard County Sheriff's Department in Kokomo unexpectedly filmed the meteor shower "entering our atmosphere on his dash camera near 600 E. on SR22", the sheriff's department wrote on Facebook.

While we are treated to several meteor showers throughout the year, most pale in comparison to the grand finale - the Geminids. The National Weather Service forecast calls for mostly clear skies with a slight southern breeze.

Geminid meteor shower - How is it different?

During this meteor shower, meteorologists are forecasting that hundreds of meteors will shoot through the sky - some visible even in the early evening hours. The Google Doodle will track the Geminids as they pass through the sky. Gemini's main bright stars are Castor and Pollux, named after the half-twin brothers in Greek and Roman mythology.

According to Dark Sky Discovery, the United Kingdom has some of the largest areas of dark sky in Europe, meaning our chances of observing the Geminids in their full glory are high.

What's happening: The Geminid meteor shower peaks tonight and you won't want to miss it.

Perhaps the best thing about a meteor shower is you don't need any special gear to see it.

Double-check your local forecast to make sure clouds won't obstruct your view.

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How many can I expect to see?

"The Geminids are often superior to August's Perseid meteor shower", said Dr. Alex Filippenko, astrophysicist and astronomy professor at UC Berkeley.

Usually appearing in bursts of two or three, Geminids travel slower and burn brighter than most other meteors - creating long, glowing arcs of white, yellow, blue, red and green.

These showers are most likely to occur every year during December the same time when the planet passes through a trail of debris left behind by the 3200 Phaethon.

Comet 46P was originally chosen by the European Space Agency to land the Rosetta probe on its surface, but launch delays caused a new target to be selected.

What is the Zenithal Hourly Rate?

Over time it has become more intense, with up to 20 comets per hour reported in the 1920s, rising to 50 in the 1930s, 60 in the 1940s and 80 in the 1970s. ZHR is astro-talk for "the maximum you would see if you had flawless conditions. and wide-angle eyes".

People who are watching the shower will see up to 120 multi-coloured meteors per hour.

Sharing intriguing pictures of the meteor shower, Twitterati is in a flutter!

However, it's one to ignore.

What are they and why do they appear yearly?

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