Get out your warm jackets, skywatchers: One of the best meteor showers of the year is almost here.
The 2013 Geminid meteor shower is expected to peak on the night of Friday, Dec. 13, and continue into Saturday morning for viewers in the Northern hemisphere. The window of peak activity runs from 1 p.m. GMT Friday (8 a.m. EST) to 10 a.m. GMT Saturday (5 a.m. EST).
The meteors, which come from the constellation Gemini, may also be visible at night a few days before the peak -- but the best view of the "shooting stars" should come between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. (local time) Friday.
"Bundle up as warmly as you can," Sky & Telescope senior editor Alan MacRobert said in a written statement. "Go out around 9:00 or preferably later. Find a spot with an open view of the sky and no lights to get in your eyes. Bring a reclining lawn chair, face it away from the moon, lie back, gaze into the stars, and be patient."
For the truly dedicated skywatchers, the pre-dawn hours on Dec. 14, after the moon sets, should provide a darker sky to see the incredible show. (Head over to the U.S. Naval Observatory's website to find out the moonset time for your location.)
Skywatchers may have been disappointed by last month's Leonid meteor shower, which was obscured by a full moon. But the Dec. 13 shower is expected to be quite the show. After all, the annual Geminid meteor shower is considered one of the most reliable displays of shooting stars.
NASA's Asteroid Watch blog reported that viewers can expect to see about 120 meteors per hour during the shower's peak. Though the moon will be nearly full, the brightest Geminids should outshine the moon.
The Slooh space camera is scheduled to stream a live broadcast of the celestial sight (see video above) on Friday night.
For an idea of what to expect from the 2013 Geminid meteor shower, check out images from last year's show in the gallery below:
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