You may be excited as only few days is left for Christmas, but not to forget that you will be surprised by a bright meteor streak across the December sky before Santa does.
Yes, the annual Geminid meteor shower has arrived and itâ€™s the best time to go out and enjoy it. With up to 120 meteors per hour visible from rural skies, the Moon will be essentially out of the picture.
The best time to see the shower is at 2 AM, when the radiant point is highest in the night sky.
In case the weather is too chilly, foggy or smoggy â€” then you can stay inside and watch the Virtual Telescope Projectâ€™s livestream of the Geminid meteor shower. That stream starts on Dec. 13 at 5 p.m. ET, from telescopes in Arizona and Italy, and will continue until the meteor shower is over.
Heads-up, Earthlings! The annual Geminid meteor shower has arrived, peaking overnight Dec. 13-14. It's a good time to bundle up! Then, go outside and let the universe blow your mind! Get the details: https://t.co/uv9HpEO228 pic.twitter.com/tZOSn0TZjHâ€” NASA (@NASA) December 13, 2017
Rising around 4:30 a.m. on the 14th, the waning crescent will shine just 3.5Â° north of the planet Jupiter in a frosting-on-the-cake conjunction to top off the big event.
"With August's Perseids obscured by bright moonlight, the Geminids will be the best shower this year," said Bill Cooke with NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office. "The thin, waning crescent Moon won't spoil the show."
You can watch the bright sky on Dec 13-14 with rates around one per minute under good conditions, according to Cooke. Geminids can be seen on nights before and after the Dec. 14 peak, although they will appear less frequently.
"Geminid activity is broad," said Cooke. "Good rates will be seen between 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 13 and dawn local time the morning of Dec. 14, with the most meteors visible from midnight to 4 a.m. on Dec. 14, when the radiant is highest in the sky."
"When you see a meteor, try to trace it backwards," said Cooke. "If you end up in the constellation Gemini there's a good chance you've seen a Geminid."