Current Moon Phase

Waning Crescent
18% of full

Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

Great Balls of Fire! The Geminids Peak this Month!

Great Balls of Fire! The Geminids Peak this Month!

If you’re looking for the most spectacular lightshow of the year, there’s no better place to look than straight up this holiday season.

The annual Geminids meteor shower, which begins on December 6 and will reach its stunning peak during the night of December 13 and morning of the 14th, is now considered to be the best of the annual meteor showers, surpassing even the celebrated August Perseids.

This year will be especially favorable because there will be a New Moon that night, leaving the sky nice and dark for viewing. Depending on how mich light pollution there is in your location, it should be possible to see as many as 60 to 120 “shooting stars” per hour for the duration of the night. The meteor shower will continue through December 19, but with nowhere near the intensity of this one-night-only performance.

The Geminids take their name from the constellation Gemini. Though meteors can appear anywhere in the sky, they always travel away from the constellation for which they are named, making it appear as though they originate there.

Meteor showers are best viewed with the naked eye. Telescopes and binoculars focus on too small of an area to be able capture the full effect of hundreds of meteors shooting across the sky. For the best effect, find a dark, remote location, away from city lights. Facing east, lie back and allow your eyes to relax, taking in as much of the sky as possible, without focusing on any particular area. Soon you will begin to detect moving streaks of light in your peripheral vision. Enjoy, and keep warm!

If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1910, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.