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Geminid meteor shower tonight will be year's best, NASA says

Weather permitting, you should be able to see one 'shooting star' a minute.

The annual Geminid meteor shower is back, and will peak tonight during the overnight hours between midnight and dawn.

NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke said this will be the “best shower this year,” in large part because the waning crescent moon means the sky will be dark and viewing conditions good. You can expect to see about one “shooting star” per minute, weather permitting, he said in a written statement released by the space agency.

The highest activity should come between midnight and 4 a.m. tomorrow (Dec. 14), he said.

If it's cloudy where you are? Don’t worry. NASA will broadcast the Geminids live via Ustream starting at sunset on Dec. 13.

Meteor showers are named for the constellations from which the meteors appear to originate. In this case, that's the constellation Gemini. These meteors are actually bits of debris from an odd asteroid named 3200 Phaethon that ignite brilliantly when they hit Earth's atmosphere.

Want to learn more about this shower — and get tips on viewing? Check out our video above.