The best meteor shower of the year happens tonight

A meteor shower lights up the sky over the Mexican volcano Popocatepetl near the village San Nicolas de los Ranchos in Mexican state of Puebla in the early hours of December 14, 2004.

One of the top meteor showers of the year will peak tonight. The celestial event will stand out by the absence of bright moonlight, as the moon will be a waning crescent and barely visible. Not all the meteors you might see belong to the Geminid shower, however.

The Geminids meteor shower will be visible in the night sky between the late evening hours of Wednesday and pre-dawn Thursday.

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The peak is expected to last for around a day so everyone should get at least a little bit of dark sky during this time to be able to see the shower.

This year's Geminids will be extra special because the Phaethon will take its closest path to Earth since 1983.

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The Geminid meteor shower is associated with the near-Earth object 3200 Phaethon, which is an asteroid. Once the Earth passes the debris field, the rocks and dust burn which becomes what most people know as shooting stars.

This origin point is called the meteor shower's radiant, because most of the meteors appear to radiate outward from this point.

The meteors are originating out of the Gemini constellation.

Get away from bright lights and look up in any direction. The greatest number of meteors will be visible between midnight and 4 a.m. on December 14. BuzzFeed News will livestream views of the Geminid meteor show from Slooh's network of cameras and telescopes across Europe from 6-8 p.m. PST on the BuzzFeed Science Facebook page.

The ideal time to view this shower will be between 7:30 PM on December 13th until the early morning of December 14th. Tune into NASA's livestream of the Geminids via Ustream starting at sunset December 13 from the Automated Lunar and Meteor Observatory at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville.


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