Up late? Watch the Geminid Meteor Shower overnight

If the clouds permit, Colorado should be treated to the best meteor showers of the year.

The Geminid Meteor Shower will peak overnight Thursday into early Friday morning across the sky. And it promises to put on quite a show.

This cluster of shooting stars is the dust and the small sand-sized pellets of the now extinct Comet 3200 Phaeton, our sister station WEWS reported.

Once a year in December, our planet travels through this debris cloud. As the specks of dust and rock hit our atmosphere, they create those bright streaks across the sky called shooting stars. Most of the shooting stars originate in or around the constellation Gemini. Hence, the name Geminid.

The shooting stars will originate in the east and northeast sky. And with no moon out to impair your viewing, the streaks of light should be quite bright, if you are able to find a spot where the cloud cover doesn't impare.

According to NASA, the Geminid Meteor Shower was first observed in the 1830s and produced about 20 shooting stars per hour. But since then, that number has increased. During a good show, an observer can expect to see 80 to 120 per hour, or about two every minute.

"Meteors from the new shower (if any) will be visible in the early evening, with the Geminids making their appearance later on and lasting until dawn," said Bill Cooke, head of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office.