One of the dark horses of the inner solar system makes its closest approach to Earth since it was discovered in 1983 soon. Phaethon is an asteroid (perhaps the burnt out core of a comet). We pass through its debris trail every December, resulting in the Geminid meteor shower. This year, the Geminids will peak on December 13-14th. Bonus: the Geminids are likely to be even better than the Perseids this year. Unfortunately, it’s cold out. Plus I have an exam on the 14th. This meteor shower didn’t get the memo I sent out that it had to fall on a weekend.
So what’s special about the Geminids? Phaethon is a source of denser meteors than are found in most other meteor showers. This results in meteor paths that can be jagged and more meteors that break apart and split. According to Space.com, the Geminids have a history of slow, bright meteors and faint meteors, but few medium-brightness ones. The moon will be a faint crescent and peak times will see 60-120 meteors per hour.
For more on the discussion of whether Phaethon is a burnt out comet or an asteroid, check out Astroprof’s page on the topic. If you happened to download Celestia when I talked about it before, you can also download an add-on that includes a few thousand near-Earth objects. Phaethon is included in that pack (it doesn’t come with Celestia by default, or at least I couldn’t find it). That site (the Celestia Motherlode) has a number of very awesome additions to Celestia, so I recommend checking it out.