Described as the "best shower this year," the Geminids meteor shower of 2017 is expected to fill the sky with some of the brightest shooting stars, and it's running from Dec. 4 to Dec. 23 and peak between the night of Dec. 13 and the morning of Dec. 14.
Aside from getting the timing right, the simple and obvious way to get good seats for the annual celestial display is to find a nice dark spot to watch it from, but even then, that could be quite the task.
Fortunately, there are some extra measures that stargazers can take to improve the overall experience.
Geminids Meteor Shower 2017: Watching Tips
First and foremost, take note of the time and date it's going to peak, which will occur overnight from Dec. 13 to Dec. 14, according to NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office lead Bill Cooke.
"Good rates will be seen between 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 13 and dawn local time the morning of Dec. 14, with the most meteors visible from midnight to 4 a.m. on Dec. 14, when the radiant is highest in the sky," he said.
Next up is finding the perfect spot. Now light pollution is your enemy here, especially for folks who live in bright and bustling cities. With the power of technology, you can get some help in looking for one from the likes of Dark Site Finder.
Before you step out to go to your choice location, remember that you don't need to bring any special equipment to watch the meteor shower. They're bright enough to be seen clearly, so much so that city dwellers can catch a glimpse of the shooting stars even if they stay at home.
Once you're there, give your eyes time to adjust to the darkness, and that means you should arrive at least 20 minutes ahead of schedule.
Of course, you might see other meteors that aren't part of the Geminids shower, but if you want some confirmation, Cooke said you can trace it backward. If a shooting star leads to the Gemini constellation, then it's likely a Geminid.
Geminids Meteor Shower 2017 Livestream
One problem that some astronomy enthusiasts might run into is a busy schedule or an unforgiving weather.
That can be solved by opting to watch a livestream of the event instead, and Virtual Telescope Project's webcast is just the thing, providing views from telescopes in Italy and Arizona. It's scheduled to start at 5 p.m. ET on Dec. 13 and continue until the whole show is done.
NASA will also hold a livestream via Ustream from the Automated Lunar and Meteor Observatory at its Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama.
It's also worth mentioning that the display will be most visible in the northern hemisphere. It can still be seen in the southern hemisphere, but it won't be high up the horizon.
In 2016, the supermoon at the time occurred during the Geminids meteor shower, making it difficult to see the shooting stars. This year, that won't be the case, as it already took place on Dec. 3 and reached its perigee on Dec. 4. That means that the Geminids will shine brightly in the skies.