The Geminid meteors peak during mid-December each year and are considered to be one of the best and most reliable of annual meteor showers. This month, they’re active from Dec. 4-17, and they peak on the evening of Dec. 13-14.
NASA says that If you can see Orion and Gemini in the sky, you’ll see some meteors. According to their website, you can expect to see about 60 meteors per hour before midnight on Dec. 13 and from midnight-3:30 a.m. on Dec. 14.
Meteors come from leftover comet particles and bits from asteroids. When these objects come around the Sun, they leave a dusty trail behind them. Every year, the Earth passes through these debris trails, which allows the bits to collide with our atmosphere, where they disintegrate to create fiery and colorful streaks in the sky.
The Geminids originate from asteroid 3200 Phaethon which takes 1.4 years to orbit the Sun.
There’s a second meteor shower in December known as the Ursids which radiates from the Little Dipper. It occurs Dec. 22 and the morning of Dec. 23.
Photo Credit: NASA/Bill Dunford