What you need to know to see the Geminid meteor shower Tuesday and Wednesday

The skies in Greater Columbus have been less than stellar lately, but if you stay up late the next two nights, you might just see a shooting star!

Maybe. If the weather permits.

The annual Geminid meteor shower will hit its peak Tuesday and Wednesday, when shooting stars will be the most visible.

According to Space.com, the Geminids are considered one of the best meteor showers every year because the individual meteors are bright and come fast. The name Geminid is derived from the constellation Gemini, from which it appears to emanate.

The annual show could produce between 120 to 160 meteors per hour.

Previous coverage:Here are 8 sky events to check out later this year

When is the best time to view the Geminid shower?

While the sky event will be visible Tuesday night, the meteor shower will reach its peak on Wednesday. The best time to see them is around 2 a.m. under dark conditions and clear skies, according to website EarthSky.

Where in the night sky should you look?

According to Space.com: "To find Gemini in the Northern Hemisphere, look in the southwestern sky for the constellation Orion, the hunter, which is easy to spot by the three stars in the hunter's 'belt.' Then look just up and to the left of Orion to see Gemini, high in the southwestern sky."

What caused the meteor shower in the first place?

The Geminids are associated with the near-Earth object 3200 Phaethon, an asteroid that may have collided with another object in the past to produce the stream of particles that Earth runs into, which creates a meteor shower. The first recorded observation of the meteor shower was in 1833 from a riverboat on the Mississippi River.

The asteroid orbits the sun every 1.4 years, according to Space.com.

What will the weather be like?

The weather in the Columbus area will not be ideal for both nights. Tuesday night will be mostly cloudy, with a low of 34 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. Then there's a chance of rain, mostly after 5 a.m. Meanwhile, there's a 100% chance of showers Wednesday night with a low around 41 degrees.

mwalker@dispatch.com

@micah_walker

This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Here's how to see the Geminid meteor shower Tuesday and Wednesday