The Sky Tonight Update: Ursids Meteor Shower

The Ursids is a minor meteor shower producing about 5-10 meteors per hour. It is produced by dust grains left behind by comet Tuttle, which was first discovered in 1790.

These small dust grains—or meteoroids—are distributed along the parent comet’s orbit concentrated close to the comet nucleus with fewer grains farther away from the nucleus. Every time the Earth passes through this stream of dust particles we experience what is known as an Ursids meteor shower.

The shower runs annually from December 17-25.

It peaks this year on the the night of the 21st and morning of the 22nd. The first quarter moon should set just after midnight leaving dark skies for what could be a good show. Best viewing will be just after midnight from a dark location far away from city lights.

Meteors will radiate from the constellation Ursa Minor, but can appear anywhere in the sky.

 

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