The annual Geminid meteor shower, which peaks the night of December 13/14, is typically one of the best of the year. Occurring less than a month after the Leonids, the Geminid shower generally features brighter meteors. In 2012, New Moon occurs December 13, so it will have no effect on viewing.
The Geminids are so named because if you trace all the meteor trails backward, they would converge within the boundaries of the constellation Gemini the Twins
. This point, called the radiant, lies approximately 3° northwest of the 1st-magnitude star Castor.
Geminid meteors are relatively slow moving, and many leave smoke trails that can last a number of seconds. In 2012, the shower will be active from about December 4 to 17, but the peak (the best time to see them) occurs the night of December 13 and the morning of December 14. The Geminid meteor shower has a broad peak, so observers should see an excellent show all night.
According to Astronomy
Senior Editor Richard Talcott, “The Geminid shower is one of the most active of any year and usually produces a good percentage of bright meteors, so it's worth watching even under less-than-favorable conditions. This year, however, conditions are excellent.”
As the radiant approaches the zenith (the overhead point) soon after midnight, observers under dark skies should see 80 to 120 meteors per hour. This rate makes the Geminid shower one of the two best of the year, right up there with August's Perseid meteor shower. And with New Moon occurring at the peak, December's shower should surpass the Perseids this year.