Nature has its own Christmas light display scheduled. The Geminid meteor shower will peak on the night of Dec. 13-14, with a good showing the following night. The Geminid is considered to be the best show of the year, even better than August’s Perseid shower. Expect 60 to 100 shooting stars per hour at the peak, more bright ones, and longer prime viewing times. These meteors are often as good in the evening as in the hours between midnight and dawn.
No special equipment is needed to watch a meteor shower, just an unobstructed view of the sky dome far away from light pollution on the ground. Of course warm clothes, a lounge chair and a flask of hot beverage will add to the experience. Unfortunately the moon is full on Dec. 13 also, and its brightness will wash out many of the smaller meteors all night long.
Geminid meteors appear to radiate from the constellation Gemini. The actual source of the space dust is not a comet, but the debris from the asteroid named 3200 Phaethon, which crosses Earth’s orbit as it flips around the sun every 1.43 years.