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Happening this Week: best Geminid meteor shower of the year!

One of the best meteor showers of the year peaks Wednesday, December 13, 2013! (Photo credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center)

The best meteor showers of the year peaks Wednesday, December 13, 2017!

For those willing to stay up a bit late and brave the cold, the Geminid meteor shower promises to be a spectacular show!

Spectators can expect to see up to 120 meteors per hour shoot across the night sky.

These bright streaks of light will appear when tiny remnants from an asteroid named 3200 Phaethon interact with Earth's atmosphere. Most meteor showers are the result of comet remnants, so the Geminids are special because they originate from an asteroid.

According to NASA, the shower will peak overnight Dec. 13-14 with rates around one per minute under good conditions.

"Good rates will be seen between 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 13 and dawn local time the morning of Dec. 14, with the most meteors visible from midnight to 4 a.m. on Dec. 14, when the radiant is highest in the sky," said Bill Cooke with NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office.

The Geminids are active every December, when Earth passes through a massive trail of dusty debris shed by a weird, rocky object named 3200 Phaethon. The dust and grit burn up when they run into Earth's atmosphere in a flurry of "shooting stars."

Follow NASA Meteor Watch on Facebook for information about meteor showers and fireballs throughout the year.

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