Geminid Meteor Shower Puts on a Stellar Show for Stargazers (Photos)

The best meteor shower of 2017 peaked overnight last night and early Thursday (Dec. 14), producing stunning light displays of up to 100 "shooting stars" per hour. Night-sky photographers stayed up late to catch some of the shooting stars on camera, and they captured some amazing views. 

Known as the Geminid meteor shower, this celestial show happens every year in mid-December as Earth passes through a stream of particles associated with the asteroid 3200 Phaethon. Astronomers believe the asteroid crashed into another space rock long ago, producing a cloud of meteoroids that brilliantly burn up as they rain down on Earth's atmosphere. 

This year's Geminids put on an especially beautiful show for skywatchers and astrophotographers. Although a bright, full supermoon washed out the light display in 2016, the thin, crescent moon didn't obstruct the view with moonlight this year. Here are some of the most spectacular photos of the 2017 Geminid meteor shower. [See more amazing 2017 Geminid Meteor Shower photos by stargazers]

Photographer Tyler Leavitt captured this image of a Geminid meteor dashing through the sky over the Mojave desert just south of Las Vegas, Nevada. (Image credit: Tyler S. Leavitt)

"A truly awesome display of Geminid meteors this year," astrophotographer Victor Rogus, who shot the video above, told in an email. "Cool, clear nights here in De Soto County, Florida, allowed me to capture at least 10 Geminids on video all in the vicinity of Orion. I have always had good luck capturing Geminids in that constellation," Rogus said. "Orion has been a favorite meteor hunting ground for me."

A Geminid meteor bursts through the night sky in this image taken by photographer Tyler Leavitt near Las Vegas, Nevada. Above the meteor, you can see the Andromeda galaxy, our closest galactic neighbor. (Image credit: Tyler S. Leavitt)

In Nevada's Mojave Desert, just south of Las Vegas, photographer Tyler Leavitt captured several photos of Geminid meteors dashing through the starry sky. In one of Leavitt's shots, you can see the Andromeda galaxy shining high and bright in the sky. To find it, follow the tail of the meteor about two-thirds of the way up from the bottom of the photo. [December Lights: 6 Facts for the Geminid Meteor Shower]

A Geminid meteor crosses the sky behind a tree in the Mojave desert in this photo by Tyler Leavitt. (Image credit: Tyler S. Leavitt)

In another one of Leavitt's shots, a Geminid meteor appears to pierce a Joshua tree like a fluorescent spear falling from the sky. "It was a little breezy and cold for us in the desert," Leavitt told in an email. 

A giant Geminid meteor bursts into the edge of the frame in this shot taken by astrophotographer BG Boyd in Tucson, Arizona. (Image credit: BG Boyd)

A bit further south in Tucson, Arizona, astrophotographer BG Boyd just barely managed to capture an especially large meteor as it flashed through the night sky. "This was one of the biggest meteors I have seen in recent memory and the largest I have ever captured," Boyd told in an email. "Sadly, there was still more of it outside of the frame that I missed."

Photographer Jorge Colomer captured this shot of a Geminid meteor over Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico. (Image credit: Jorge Colomer)

In Puerto Rico, photographer Jorge Colomer was thrilled to have captured an enormous Geminid meteor on camera. "When I saw how big and long this one was, I looked to the monitor of my camera to see if I got it inside the frame, and wow, I got it!!! One of the best experiences of my life, it felt like an adrenaline type of rush with a lot energy," Colomer told in an email. 

Multiple Geminid meteors streak through the sky in this photo captured by Tony Corso just south of Paris, Texas. (Image credit: Tony Corso)

In northeast Texas, photographer Tony Corso woke up early this morning (Dec. 14) to capture some Geminid meteors on camera. "What a show it was," Corso told in an email. He managed to capture several meteors on camera, including the three in the photo above. 

Editor's note: If you have an amazing night-sky photo you'd like to share with us and our news partners for a possible story or image gallery, please contact managing editor Tariq Malik at

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Hanneke Weitering
Contributing expert

Hanneke Weitering is a multimedia journalist in the Pacific Northwest reporting on the future of aviation at and Aviation International News and was previously the Editor for Spaceflight and Astronomy news here at As an editor with over 10 years of experience in science journalism she has previously written for Scholastic Classroom Magazines, MedPage Today and The Joint Institute for Computational Sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. After studying physics at the University of Tennessee in her hometown of Knoxville, she earned her graduate degree in Science, Health and Environmental Reporting (SHERP) from New York University. Hanneke joined the team in 2016 as a staff writer and producer, covering topics including spaceflight and astronomy. She currently lives in Seattle, home of the Space Needle, with her cat and two snakes. In her spare time, Hanneke enjoys exploring the Rocky Mountains, basking in nature and looking for dark skies to gaze at the cosmos.