Although the Geminid meteor shower occurs every December, this year’s December 13th shower promises to be particularly bright. Since a new moon is slated to occur within a few days of the shower’s peak, the sky will be darker, making the meteors more easily visible. The shower is known for having some of the brightest shooting stars, and this year there are also a high volume of meteors expected, with a projected 100 per hour.
Although the 200-year-old shower got its name because the meteors appear to come from the Gemini constellation, the meteors visible from Earth actually come from the trail of debris left behind by the asteroid 3200 Phaethon, during its orbit of the sun.
NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke told Space.com that the best time to view the Geminids will be at 2:00 AM on the morning of December 14th. “The moon will be first quarter,” he said, “so it will set around midnight; there will be no moonlight to interfere with the Geminids this year.” Plan to be out there for at least an hour, though, as it can take your eyes up to 45 minutes to adjust to the darkness. The Geminid shower can be seen from anywhere in the world, but for the best views, head somewhere rural, with as little light pollution as possible.