Space has saved the best light show for the last, it seems.
The Geminid meteor shower 2012, the final major meteor shower each year and likely to be the best, peaks overnight Dec. 13 and Dec. 14, and skywatchers are promising a fabulous end-of-the-year show.
First sighted in the 1830s, the Geminids stream across the sky at a rate of about 20 an hour, but as many as 80 to 120 an hour at its peak have been reported, according to NASA.
The Geminids peak might be around 2 a.m. on Dec. 13 and 14, when the shower’s radiant point is highest in the sky, according to Earthsky.org.
"With no moon to ruin the show, 2012 presents a most favorable year for watching the grand finale of the meteor showers," according to the organization. "Best viewing of the Geminids will probably be from about 1 a.m. to 3 a.m. on December 14."
Geminids, named after the constellation Gemini where it appears to have originated, are pieces of debris from 3200 Phaethon, a celestial body that may be a dormant comet, according to Earthsky.org.
With a new moon scheduled for Dec. 13, the meteor shower is guaranteed no visible interference. To watch, just get away from artificial light as much as possible, sit back and enjoy the show, Earthsky.org says.