Generally, the meteor shower associated with 3200 Phaethon, a 5.1 km piece of rock, peaks around the second week of December and some astronomers believe the asteroid may have undergone a collision with another object in the distant past to produce the stream of particles that Earth runs into creating the meteor shower. Perhaps you've already seen a bright meteor flare over the December sky?
Good viewing conditions are expected in the Upstate, but we could have some clouds for the mountains as we have the remnants of northwest flow snow showers lingering Tuesday night.
"This unbelievable meteor shower is happening as the Earth passes through a cloud of dust left behind by an ancient asteroid".
Only about 3 miles across, the asteroid wasn't discovered until 1983, even though the annual Geminid shower was recognized as a yearly phenomenon by the mid-1800s.
This year's display should be particularly good, NASA says, because the moon is a thin, waning crescent this weekend, so it's unlikely to obscure the show.
If you can't get away from light pollution, don't worry: You'll still be able to see meteors, just at a slower rate.
Sgt. Frank Schomp of the Sparta Police Department saw a meteor streaking across the sky on December 2 and hit record on his dashcam.
"With August's Perseids covered by bright moonlight, the Geminids will be the best shower of this year", stated Bill Cooke with NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office. But in-city viewing is not out of the question, particularly in areas with fewer lights. "When you see a meteor, attempt to trace it backwards", said Cooke. It will peak around 2am, when the sky is darkest. Give your eyes time to adjust to the dark.
Gemini constellation will be nearly overhead and the number of meteors can reach up to 120 per hour. Gemini will rise in the east, but shooting stars can be seen in all quadrants of the sky - so most experts advise simply lying flat and looking up.
Binoculars are probably unnecessary because the meteors are easily visible with the naked eye.
In other parts of the country, Geminid-gazing will continue through the week, but don't bet on it around here.
It's certainly going to be cold over the coming days, but that could mean some clear skies.