Geminid meteor shower as seen from a dessert

Star view

A moment from 2012’s Geminid meteor shower

Every December, Earth crosses paths with an asteroid’s debris field. As pieces of rock and ice fall through the atmosphere, they burn up and create a holiday spectacular we know as the Geminid meteor shower.

The streaks of light appear to originate near the Gemini constellation, which is where the shower gets its name. That’s where you should look on Tuesday night to see shooting stars rain across the sky.

chart showing constellations in the eastern sky during geminid meteor shower

Where To Look

Gemini, the apparent origin point for the meteors, rises in the east at around 6 p.m. That’s the direction to look if you’re keen to spot a shooting star Sunday night. (This chart shows the constellations at 9:30 p.m. local time for the mid-latitudes of the northern hemisphere.)

This year, unlike 2015, the Geminid meteor shower will have some competition. Its peak tonight coincides with a supermoon—the full moon that occurs when our satellite is on its nearest approach to Earth. Bright light from the moon will make it harder to spot the flashes of shooting stars. But since the Geminids is one of the brighter meteor showers, you should still be able to see at least some of it.

If you live in an area with lots of light pollution (or decide it’s not worth braving the cold for a potential meteor-shower sighting) fear not! Beginning at 8 PM EST, the Slooh robotic telescope service will host a live stream of the shower that you can watch from the comfort of your living room.