The Geminids are regal when it comes to meteor showers. This annual festival of shooting stars is reliable, eye catching and always a crowd puller.
The shower is currently active, but will peak on the night of Friday, December 1
The Geminids are a gift of 3200 Phaethon who visit our neighborhood at about the same time each year. There is still some debate as to whether 3200 Phaethon is an asteroid or an extinct comet. Either way, it brings a pretty light show to earth.
This year's performance may not be quite as spectacular as some, as the full moon competition is almost over. The moonlight will drown out some of the weaker meteorite trails.
"Instead of seeing 60 or more Geminids per hour, you can still count about 20 per hour," said the American Meteor Society.
Despite the viewing problems, the Geminds are still worth a look. The shower traditionally delivers bright, impressive meteors that brighten the sky. The best view is in the Northern Hemisphere, but people at the southern end of the world may also see some beautiful meteors.
Most of the usual meteor showering advice is for the Geminids. Try to find a spot of minimal light pollution (especially as you will be fighting the moon this year) and give your eyes time to get used to the darkness. Make yourself comfortable and watch the entire sky.
You may need to sleep a bit to see the Geminids better. The prime time is after midnight. Treat yourself to a decent window, as the Geminids are known to bounce, resulting in quiet moments interrupted by more active periods. Follow the fireball action online instead. The American Meteor Society has invited space fans to join Facebook and Twitter for details on live coverage from their AllSky6 camera network.
Enjoy the fireball hunt!