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The Geminids peak the night of Dec. 13 and 14. Bundle up and prepare to see up to 120 meteors every hour

Nicole Clausing  – December 12, 2019

Friday the 13th is allegedly a harbinger of strange events. This month’s occurrence is bringing a rare celestial event to light up the night. A meteor shower that is a favorite among skywatchers will be at its peak Friday night, making that evening a great time to be outside looking up.

The Geminids meteor shower happens every year between Dec 7 and 17, and every year it reaches its peak on Dec 13. It’s a favorite of stargazers because it’s so consistent, reliably producing dozens of bright flashes every hour, and unlike some meteor showers, it’s strong every year. (Though, to set expectations, the light of the nearly full moon will drown out some of the fainter ones this time around.)

To take advantage of Mother Nature’s free light show, you don’t need any fancy equipment. For the best experience, find a dark place with a view of as much of the sky as possible. Open fields are good, as are parking lots and beaches. Though this shower is named after the constellation Gemini, which will be visible to the east, the meteors can appear anywhere in the sky.

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The most intense part of any meteor shower is usually after midnight, so try to stay up that late if you can. That’s when you’ll have the best chance of seeing two or more shooting stars a minute. But if you can’t, don’t worry. Late Friday night might be when the action’s peaking, but you’ll have an above-average chance of catching a streaking meteor any time the sun is down from now through the 17th.

And there’s always next year.