By Terry Eliasen, Meteorologist, WBZ-TV Exec. Weather Producer

BOSTON (CBS) — The weather may be quiet but the skies are bustling with activity! While there may not be any rain or snow to track at the moment, there is plenty to feast your eyes on beyond our atmosphere! So, bundle up, grab the lawn chair out of the shed and enjoy the show!

Astronomy planner:

International Space Station Flyby


WHEN: Tuesday evening, 5:35 p.m. – 5:41 p.m.

WHERE: Appears 10 degrees above NW horizon, reaches max height of 44 degrees, then disappears 11 degrees above SSE horizon.

A photo of the International Space Station’s Monday night flyby. (Photo credit: Rob Wright Images)

FORECAST: Mainly clear, cold (Clouds over Cape Cod).

RATING: 3 Stars ***  (5 stars = must see, 1 star = skip it)

Geminid Meteor Shower


WHEN: Peaks Thursday night and early Friday (pre-dawn). Ideal time from midnight through 4 a.m. Friday.

WHERE: Lie back and look up! Preferably with a clear view of the sky and very little light pollution. . . you may want to face south, toward the constellation Gemini.

FORECAST: Tricky cloud forecast. . . likely some areas of overcast and some partly cloudy.

RATING: 5 Stars *****

MORE DETAILS: This has the potential to be the best meteor shower of the year! The moon will set around 10:30 pm, leaving the sky nice and dark. By 2 a.m. on Friday the constellation Gemini will be almost directly overhead and predictions are for as many as 60-120 meteors per hour! The Geminids are also slower and denser than many of the other meteor showers, meaning perhaps a longer streak across the sky.

Comet 46P/Wirtanen


WHEN: Closest to Earth on December 16th, but dimly visible already (best viewed with binoculars or telescope).

WHERE: Looking to the east, to the right of constellations Orion and Taurus.

Image credit: Sky And Telescope

FORECAST: Lots of clouds in the forecast Friday and early Saturday (rain as well). . . there may be a better opportunity later in the weekend.

RATING: 4 Stars ****

MORE DETAILS: This is the closest pass by a comet to the Earth this year and the 10th closest approach since 1950 (getting as close as about 7 million miles). In order to see with the naked eye, you will need to view in an area with very little or no light pollution, again best with binoculars or telescope. It will continue to be within viewing range through the end of the month.

Follow Terry on Twitter @TerryWBZ


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