Of spectacular meteor showers lighting up night skies, this one is being called the best in recent years. The Geminid meteor shower became active November 19 and continues producing shooting stars right through Christmas Eve. But the most magnificent time will be late night December 13 through early morning hours December 14.

Astronomists say New Jersey will be treated to a tremendous burst of activity, 120 to 150 meteors per hour at that peak. What’s helping stargazers in 2023 is the moon phase. On Dec 12 the moon will be in a waxing crescent phase and giving off very little light.

So you should see shooting stars galore.

Meteor shower in night sky illustration

Viewing tips

Experts say you’ll have a great chance of catching these beautiful shooting stars with little distracting moonlight, but if you want to increase your chances further it’s always best to be away from city light in a dark area.

Also don’t try to focus on any one part of the sky. Just keep looking all around and you should soon be catching them.

Night starry sky. Meteor shower, abstract background
Stanislav Gvozd

Amie Gallagher, planetarium director at Raritan Valley Community College offers this advice,

You don’t need to use a telescope or binoculars to watch a meteor shower. Just use your eyes and scan the sky.

Your chances of spotting a shooting star usually get better the later you stay awake.

Meteor showers are best watched after midnight. That’s when the part of the Earth that you are on is moving into the stream of debris in space left behind by the parent comet or asteroid.

Meteoric shower in the night.

How Geminids shower is different

Most meteor showers come from comets. The Geminids comes from small fragments of an asteroid known as 3200 Phaethon. This is similar to another meteor shower stemming from an asteroid, Quadrantids, peaking early next month.

The Geminids is named after the constellation Gemini because the meteors appear to emerge from the constellation.

Bill Ingalls/NASA
Bill Ingalls/NASA

Send us pics

If you happen to get any great still photos or even videos of these shooting stars and want to share them, remember you can always send them to us. Easiest way is through our free NJ 1015 app. There's a tab "submit photo/video/audio" that makes it easy.

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NJ101.5 screenshot

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