The 2021 Geminid meteor shower peaks on the night between Dec. 13 and 14. The Geminids are usually one of the best meteors shower of the year, capable of producing 150 or more meteors per hour at a dark site. The meteors are often bright and colorful. The Moon will be 78% full and up for a large portion of the night, which could hamper viewing. We recommend timeanddate.com to help you find ideal times and viewing directions for your location.
The Geminids are caused by debris from an asteroid called 3200 Phaethon. Phaethon’s 524-day orbit carries it closer to the Sun than any other asteroid: roughly 21 million kilometers, less than half the distance of Mercury’s closest approach to the Sun.
All you need to watch a meteor shower is your eyes, patience, and a mostly cloud-free night. Go out, get comfortable, and stare at the sky. Typically the best time to see a meteor shower is between midnight and pre-dawn, because that’s when you are on the leading side of the Earth, watching the comet debris come at you like rain hitting a car windshield.
You don’t have to stare in the direction of the radiant; in fact, meteors farther away from it will appear longer. It is often said that an ideal place to look is 45 degrees away from the radiant, but the most important factor is getting to a dark location away from city lights, letting your eyes adjust for several minutes, and looking at the darkest patch of sky you can.
Go out, look up at the night sky and have fun!