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Geminid Meteor Shower & Total Lunar Eclipse
Skywatchers, grab your blankets. December's night sky spectacular will feature the best meteor shower of 2010 as well as the only total lunar eclipse of the year – sights that should outshine any New Year's Eve fireworks display in terms of sheer wonder.
The massive Geminid meteor shower returns every year, so you'll have more chances if the cold proves too daunting on the night of Dec. 13. But anyone in North America who skips the total lunar eclipse on the night of Dec. 20 will be missing what promises to be the best lunar eclipse show until April 2014.
This year's Geminid meteor shower is expected to be the best display of so-called "shooting stars" of the year and will peak during the overnight hours of Dec. 13 and Dec. 14.
Like most meteor showers, the Geminids will be at their best after midnight (early on the morning of Dec. 14), when the Earth is heading directly into the meteoroid stream. But some will be visible earlier in the night, on the evening of Dec. 13, because the meteors' radiant (where they appear to originate) is nearly circumpolar, so they will stay in view above the horizon all night.