Meteor Showers in December 2024: When to See Shooting Stars Tonight

~5 min

Several noteworthy meteor showers will take place in December, including the prolific Geminids. Here, you’ll learn about their peak dates and the Moon’s phase and get an observation forecast. If you want to know about the best meteor showers of 2024, read our dedicated article.


How to catch the most shooting stars?

You don't need any special equipment to observe meteor showers. Just keep in mind the most important things to enhance your experience:

  • Peak date of the meteor shower;
  • Phase of the Moon;
  • Weather forecast.
Meteor viewing with Sky Tonight
The Sky Tonight app has everything you need to prepare for meteor observations.

All of this information is available in the free Sky Tonight app. Explore the Visible Tonight section (the telescope icon on the main screen) to find the Moon phase, weather forecast, and stargazing index for each day. Learn what meteor showers are visible for your location in the Meteor Showers tab of the app's calendar (the calendar icon on the main screen).

Major December Meteor Showers

December 13-14: Geminids

Geminids' radiant
The Geminids’ radiant (the point in the sky from which the Geminid meteors appear to fly out) is located in the constellation Gemini.
  • ZHR: 150
  • Moon illumination: 97%
  • Active: December 4-20
  • Radiant location: Сonstellation Gemini
  • Visible from: Everywhere
  • Description: The Geminid meteor shower, associated with the asteroid 3200 Phaethon, is one of the most prolific streams of the year. On a dark night around the peak, you can see 50 meteors in one hour; it’s possible to catch 150 meteors per hour on the peak night. These meteors favor the Northern Hemisphere but are also visible from the southern latitudes.

Visibility forecast

In 2024, the conditions for observing the Geminids will be poor. The bright, nearly full Moon will light up the sky during the peak night. However, you can still see a few “shooting stars” if you manage to block out the Moon’s light — for instance, by standing near a tree or a building. Read our dedicated article to learn more about observing the Geminids in 2024.

December 21-22: Ursids

Ursids' radiant
  • ZHR: 10
  • Moon illumination: 55%
  • Active: December 17-26
  • Radiant location: Constellation Ursa Minor
  • Visible from: Northern Hemisphere
  • Description: The Ursids, whose parent body is the comet 8P/Tuttle, always peak around the December solstice. They usually provide about ten meteors per hour at a maximum; however, there were recorded outbursts of activity with 100 meteors per hour. The radiant of the Ursids is circumpolar for most of the Northern Hemisphere, and not visible from most of the Southern Hemisphere.

Visibility forecast

During the Ursids’ peak in 2024, the Moon will be in the last quarter phase, which may interfere with observations. You can try to block out its bright light to see more meteors. To learn more about the Ursids, read our dedicated article.

Make sure you are fully prepared for meteor hunting – test your knowledge about shooting stars with our quiz. It has useful tips and general information about meteor showers.

Meteor Showers Quiz
Think you’re a meteor mastermind? Dive into our quiz to see if you’re truly starry-eyed or just spaced out. 🌠 👀 Bonus: snag some pro tips to actually catch those elusive shooting stars!
Take the quiz!

Minor December Meteor Showers

December 6-7: Puppid-Velid II Complex

  • ZHR: 10
  • Moon illumination: 41%
  • Active: December 1-15
  • Radiant location: Constellation Puppis
  • Visible from: Southern Hemisphere
  • Description: The parent body of the Puppid-Velid II Complex is unknown; this meteor shower, in general, is poorly studied. Like the Ursids, it also provides about ten meteors during the peak. What makes them different is that the Puppid-Velid II Complex is not that reliable and therefore considered a minor stream.

Visibility forecast

During the Puppid-Velids peak in 2024, the Moon will be nearly half-illuminated, which may interfere with observations. So, the best time to observe the “shooting stars” is early in the night when the Moon hasn't risen yet. The stream favors the Southern Hemisphere, where its radiant is on view all night. Stargazers from the southern part of the Northern Hemisphere might also spot some meteors close to the horizon in the early morning.

December 8-9: December Monocerotids

  • ZHR: 3
  • Moon illumination: 65%
  • Active: November 27 – December 20
  • Radiant location: Constellation Monoceros
  • Visible from: Everywhere
  • Description: The December Monocerotid meteors originated from the comet C/1917 F1 (Mellish). This stream is the lesser-known of the two showers referred to as the Monocerotids. In most years, the maximum number of produced meteors varies from 2 to 3.

Visibility forecast

In 2024, the observation conditions for the December Monocerotids are not very good. During the peak, the Moon will be more than half-illuminated, so it might be difficult to see the already faint and scarce Monocerotid meteors.

December 8-9: Sigma Hydrids

  • ZHR: 7
  • Moon illumination: 65%
  • Active: December 3-20
  • Radiant location: Constellation Hydra
  • Visible from: Everywhere
  • Description: The Sigma Hydrids (σ-Hydrids), whose parent body is unknown, belong to the biggest constellation Hydra and repeatedly provide bright meteors. However, the stream is considered faint and not spectacular as there are not so many meteors in it.

Visibility forecast

In 2024, the bright light of more than half-illuminated Moon might spoil the view of faint Sigma Hydrids. The good news is the meteor shower’s peak overlaps with the peak of the December Monocerotids, meaning you may see up to 10 meteors per hour from both streams on the night of December 8-9. Since the Sigma Hydrids’ radiant rises in the late evening, this meteor shower is best viewed after local midnight from either hemisphere.

December 15-16: Comae Berenicids

  • ZHR: 3
  • Moon illumination: 99%
  • Active: December 5 – February 4
  • Radiant location: Constellation Coma Berenices
  • Visible from: Everywhere
  • Description: The Comae Berenicids is a weak meteor shower with an undetected parent body. They are sometimes confused with the December Leonis Minorids as they have a similar orbit. The Comae Berenicids are a long-lasting meteor shower that can be traced up to early February.

Visibility forecast

In 2024, the maximum of the Comae Berenicids occurs close to the Full Moon. This means your chances of seeing any meteors are quite low: the meteor shower itself is very weak, and the bright light of the Moon will hide even those few “shooting stars” you could have seen.

December 19-20: December Leonis Minorids

  • ZHR: 5
  • Moon illumination: 76%
  • Active: December 5 – February 4
  • Radiant location: Constellation Leo Minor
  • Visible from: Everywhere
  • Description: Like the Comae Berenicids, the December Leonis Minorid meteor shower is a weak stream with an undiscovered parent body.

Visibility forecast

When the December Leonis Minorids reach their maximum activity in 2024, more than half of the Moon will be illuminated, which will make observations difficult. The Moon rises together with the meteor shower’s radiant, so your only way to see “shooting stars” is to block out the bright moonlight.

Variable December Meteor Showers

Here are two more meteor showers occurring in December. Their ZHR is variable, which means that they periodically have outbursts of activity, but in general, they’re weak and hard to see. In 2024, there are no forecasts for their high activity.

December 1-2: Phoenicids

  • ZHR: Variable
  • Moon illumination: 1%
  • Active: November 28 – December 9
  • Radiant location: Constellation Phoenix
  • Visible from: Southern Hemisphere

December 3-4: Phi Cassiopeiids

  • ZHR: Variable
  • Moon illumination: 8%
  • Active: November 28 – December 4
  • Radiant location: Constellation Cassiopeia
  • Visible from: Everywhere

Meteor showers in December 2024: Bottom line

December 2024 doesn’t look very promising for meteor lovers: bright moonlight might ruin the viewing of most major and minor meteor streams. However, you can still see some shooting stars in December if you block out the moonlight or observe the sky when the Moon hasn’t risen yet. Use the Sky Tonight app to determine the Moon’s position and any radiant’s location for any date. Also, take a look at our infographic to prepare for a successful meteor hunt. We wish you clear skies and happy observations!

Meteor Showers: All You Need to Know
Check this infographic to learn interesting facts about meteor showers. Get tips on how to observe and photograph "shooting stars".
See Infographic