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A 2017 Geminid meteor shower composite. Photo: VW Pics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images.

This weekend, be sure to look up to catch the Geminid meteor shower, one of the best of the year.

The big picture: The Geminid meteor shower hits its peak each year in mid-December as Earth passes through the trail of debris left behind by asteroid 3200 Phaethon.

  • The shower is expected to be particularly good this year, with very little moonlight interfering with the dark skies needed to spot the streaking shooting stars.

How it works: NASA predicts that the shower will peak overnight on Dec. 13 into the wee hours of Dec. 14.

  • You can expect to see meteors all night from the Northern Hemisphere and starting after midnight in the Southern Hemisphere, assuming you have reasonably dark and clear skies above you.
  • "For the best viewing, find a safe location away from bright city lights, lie flat on the ground with your feet pointing south and look up," NASA said in a skywatching video. "Meteors can appear in any part of the sky, though they'll appear to radiate from near the constellation Gemini."
  • It takes about 30 minutes for eyes to adjust to the dark, so give yourself time, and don't ruin your night vision by looking at a bright phone screen.

What's next: On Dec. 21, Jupiter and Saturn are going to meet up in the night sky thanks to a lucky planetary alignment, appearing closer than they have in about 20 years.

  • The two planets will be visible in the same field of view through binoculars or a telescope, according to NASA.
  • "This is the 'greatest' great conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn for the next 60 years, with the two planets not appearing this close in the sky until 2080," NASA said.

Go deeper

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Jan 5, 2021 - Science

White House lays out new planetary protection guidelines against human contamination

Mars as seen by the Curiosity rover. Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

The White House laid out a plan last week for updating long-held rules around how to protect the Moon, Mars and other bodies from human contamination.

Why it matters: If a space agency or private company is looking for life on Mars or another deep space object, it's key to be sure any microbes detected are actually native and didn't hitch a ride from Earth.

Abrams’ campaign manager rules out 2024 run if she wins governor's race

Photo: Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

In her first major interview since the official announcement, Stacey Abrams' campaign manager Lauren Groh-Wargo quashed speculation that the Georgia Democrat would interrupt a theoretical gubernatorial term to run for president in 2024.

Why it matters: Abrams' name has come up repeatedly as a top 2024 Democratic contender given President Joe Biden's age and Vice President Kamala Harris's low favorability rating.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Updated 43 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Trump social media group raises $1 billion from undisclosed investors

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Donald Trump's social media startup on Saturday announced that it secured $1 billion in new investment as part of its ongoing efforts to become publicly traded via a blank check company.

Between the lines: None of the investors were identified, which is highly unusual for this sort of transaction.

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