Moon will dim Geminid meteor shower tonight
The annual Geminid meteor shower - usually one of the year's best except for the cold - will peak tonight and tomorrow night. They're normally visible all night. And the weather looks like it will cooperate with clear skies in the three hours after midnight.
Unfortunately, a bright, nearly-full moon this year will wash out all but the brightest of the shower's shooting "stars." But if you can get up and watch between 4:30 a.m. and dawn, the moon will have set, darkening the sky enough to bring out the fainter meteors. Urban lighting will make these virtually impossible to see, so seek out a dark spot in the country for the best possible view.
The Geminids usually run about 120 meteors per hour under ideal seeing condition - which we definitely do NOT have this year. Here's where to look. This shower is not associated with a comet, but rather with dust debris tossed off by the passage of an asteroid called 3200 Phaethon. Read more about the Geminids' history here.
Here's a report of an object that may have been a big Geminid, from the upper peninsula of Michigan. And here's a gallery of pictures of last year's Geminids, including several from George Varros, of Mt. Airy, Md.