NASA: Meteor shower tonight expected to be best of the year

(KNOE 8 Weather) - The Geminids meteor shower will be visible in the ArkLaMiss tonight and NASA says it could quite possibly be the best one of the year.

A meteor shower is caused when the earth passes through dust and debris left behind from a previous comet or asteroid. Tonight's meteor shower is a result of dust left behind from the asteroid 3200 Phaethon.

As the earth crosses through the debris field the asteroids burn up as they enter the Earths atmosphere. This is a result of the fast moving asteroid compressing the gasses ahead of it.

"They are really pieces of asteroids and comets or asteroids that are hitting the earth atmosphere and getting very hot as they come through the earths atmosphere," Said Jennifer Wiseman, who is the Hubble Senior Project Specialist.

The asteroids move at speeds ranging from 25,000 mph-160,000 mph! If they survive the journey through the atmosphere and make it to the ground they become a meteorite.

The best viewing for tonight's meteor shower will be between midnight and dawn. Make sure to avoid any light pollution and look up! There should be over 100 meteors per hour.