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Geminid Meteor Shower To Be Especially Visible Overnight

(CBS SF) -- People willing to brave the outdoor cold temperatures will be treated to one of the best meteor showers of the year tonight.

The annual Geminid meteor shower is expected to be especially visible during its peak overnight December 13-14. The celestial event will stand out by the absence of bright moonlight, as the moon will be a waning crescent and barely visible.

Bill Cooke with NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office said the meteors will be seen at a rate of around one per minute under good conditions.

"Good rates will be seen between 7:30 p.m. on December 13 and dawn local time the morning of December 14, with the most meteors visible from midnight to 4 a.m. on December 14," Cooke told

The Geminids are seen every December when the earth passes through a trail of debris and dust from an asteroid or extinct comet known as 3200 Phaethon.

The debris and grit is burned up as it runs into the earth's atmosphere to produce the meteor or "shooting star."

While Geminids can be seen with the naked eye around the world, though the best view is from the Northern Hemisphere.

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