Late tonight you can catch some of the best sky watching of the year with the annual Geminids Meteor shower.
Hayden Planetarium's Joe Rao says it's always one of the best sky shows, but this year's shower is probably going to be especially good because the moon is at new phase. That means the moonlight won't steal the stage from these sparkly falling gems. You'll start seeing traces of the shower just after sunset, but the peak of the shower is supposed to happen as early as 10pm EST tonight and last into the early hours of tomorrow morning. At its climax, you'll see between 60 and 120 meteors falling from the sky. Of course, that's if you're on the east coast and in an ideal spot—a place with wide open sky where there's not a lot of light pollution. If you're not, you can watch along online here with NASA meteor experts.
What makes the Geminids so good? Rao explains that they're slower than other meteors, like the Perseids, which happen every August. He says Geminids look like little mice skittering across the sky. And tonight there's a chance that we'll also catch an appearance from an unnamed meteor shower, making the spectacle even more impressive. So grab your lawn chair, bundle up, and head out to your nearest open field to catch some beautiful falling cosmic dust tonight. [Hayden Planetarium, Space.com]