A Geminid meteor zooms over a barn in Saukville, Wisconsin, on December 14.
Historically the Geminids were overlooked by most amateur astronomers simply because the annual event occurs so close to the busy holiday season and frigid winter nights—but that's beginning to change thanks to its rising intensity over the past few decades.
Photograph by Jeffrey Phelps, AP
Soaking It In
Israelis relax in a hot spring near the Dead Sea during the peak of the Geminid meteor shower in a long-exposure photograph taken December 14.
Since Geminids hit the atmosphere at about 20 miles per second (32 kilometers per second)—slower than other meteor showers—they create beautiful long arcs across the sky that can last for a second or two.
Photograph by Abir Sultan, European Pressphoto Agency
Geminids slice the sky over a glittering Aspen, Colorado, in a picture taken December 14.
Geminid meteors appear to radiate from the shower's namesake constellation, Gemini, the twins from Greek legend.
Photograph by Tom Cuccio, Your Shot
A Geminid shoots over the Hurricane Sandy-damaged remains of the 59th Street Pier in Ocean City, New Jersey, on December 14.
Most annual meteor showers happen when Earth passes through clouds of debris left behind by passing comets, causing tons of dust to rain down on the planet in short periods of time.
The Geminids are unusual, though, because they're thought to be the only annual meteor shower created by an asteroid-like object: 3200 Phaethon.
Photograph by Jay Cassario, My Shot
Geminid meteors light the sky over Borgarnes, Iceland, on December 15.
"There were so many of them," said photographer Sunna Gautadottir, "and it was just way too beautiful to describe in words."