If you're going to look up from that smartphone for just one night, make it Dec. 13 — it'll be worth it. The Geminid meteor shower, which, according to NASA, is "rich in fireballs," will be at its peak, with an especially good showing this year because the lack of moonlight that night will make for a perfectly dark display.
The Geminid meteor shower is unique in that it's slow, bright, and graceful, and unlike other celestial showers, the streaks of light come from leftovers of an asteroid, not comets. Looking at the night sky, the Geminids seem to originate from the constellation Gemini, hence the name. Check out our list of more shower-watching pro tips for the ultimate meteor viewing experience.
- Start watching at 10 p.m. — Meteor sightings will be most concentrated between 10 p.m. local time, and the brightest views will appear around 2 a.m.
- Keep your eyes to the east — Depending on your location, the constellation Gemini appears in the east-northeast horizon as the sky begins to darken. Not sure where to find the constellation? Check out this interactive astronomical map.
- Tune into NASA's live chat and Ustream. — The embedded question and answer session and live stream will begin Dec. 13 at 11 p.m. EST.