The Geminid meteor shower will peak this week. Here’s how to watch

FILE-A composite of the Geminid meteor shower, from the peak night of December 13 near the Arizona Sky Village in southeast Arizona, with a view looking northeast, toward the nearby towns of Lordsburg and Deming, NM adding the sky glows. (Photo by: A

One of the top aerial spectacles will close out the year for stargazers to enjoy. 

The Geminid meteor shower will reach its peak on Wednesday, Dec. 13 and it's considered one of the best and most reliable annual meteor showers that happen when Earth passes through the particles and pieces of asteroid 3200 Phaethon, according to NASA. 

FOX Weather noted that the Geminid meteor shower happens this year from Dec. 4-17. During the peak on Dec. 13 and Dec. 14, the skies could light up with 150 meteors per hour under ideal conditions.

The name of the meteor shower comes from the Gemini constellation because the meteors appear to radiate from the constellation, but they do not originate from it.

RELATED: Geminid meteor shower peaks in mid-December thanks to this puzzling asteroid

According to NASA, the Geminids are one of the few meteor showers associated with an asteroid rather than a comet. However, 3200 Phaethon is an odd object that astronomers are still trying to define.

The Geminids first began appearing in the mid-1800s. However, the first showers were not noteworthy, with only 10 to 20 meteors seen per hour. Additionally, Geminids have grown to become one of the major meteor showers of the year. 

How to watch the Geminid meteor shower 

A clear sky without haze and light pollution will result in optimal viewing conditions for stargazers.

Geminids are best viewed during the night and predawn hours and are visible across the globe due to a nearly 24-hour broad maximum. The shower starts around 9 or 10 p.m. local time, NASA notes.

Spectators should find an area well away from the city lights or street lights. And it's a good idea to be prepared for the weather by packing a sleeping bag, blanket, or lawn chair and lie on your back with your feet facing south and look up.  

After 30 minutes in the dark, your eyes will adapt, and you will begin to see meteors. According to NASA, the show will last until dawn, so you have plenty of time to see it.

NASA's Gordon Johnston explained to FOX Weather why having a large view of the sky and giving your eyes time to adapt is also important.

"Your color-sensing cone cells are concentrated near the center of your view with more of the rod cells on the edge of your view," he writes. "Since some meteors are faint, you will tend to see more meteors from the "corner of your eye" (which is why you need to view a large part of the sky). Your color vision (cone cells) will adapt to darkness in about 10 minutes, but your more sensitive night vision rod cells will continue to improve for an hour or more (with most of the improvement in the first 35 to 45 minutes)."

During some meteor showers, the Moon can also wash out the show. For this year’s Geminids, a waxing crescent Moon on Dec. 13 won’t prevent stargazers from seeing the meteors. 

Between Dec. 13 and 14, only 1-3% of the Moon’s light will shine in the sky.  

On the east coast, the best time to start looking for Geminids is after 8:30 p.m. on Dec. 13, according to NASA.

FOX Weather contributed to this report.  This story was reported from Washington, D.C.