(EARTHSKY) Isn’t it awesome that you can see Geminid meteors – space debris vaporizing in Earth’s atmosphere – with your unaided eye and, on the same nights, take a peek through your telescope to see the 3-mile-wide (5-km-wide) space rock that produces these meteors? Yes, it is!
Although the Geminid meteor shower will peak on the night of December 12 and 13 (mornings of December 13 to 14), its parent body – a curious rock-comet known as 3200 Phaethon – has been visible in our skies for some weeks to those with small telescopes. Charts to find it are included in this article. On December 16, this 3-mile-wide (5-km-wide) space rock will be closer to Earth than it has been since its discovery in 1983. In fact, NASA says, the 2017 encounter is the closest by this asteroid since 1974 and until 2093.