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Ursid Meteor Shower

Ursid Meteor Shower

Every late December, skywatchers can head outside and watch the annual Ursid meteor shower, which peaks each year around the time of the Winter Solstice, December 22-23rd. It’s the second of two meteor displays in December, the first being the Geminids, which peaked earlier in the month.

What Causes the Ursids?

Created by dust from the tail of the comet Comet 8P/Tuttle, the Ursids are not typically one of the strongest meteor showers commonly observed. These meteor showers generally produce anywhere from 5 to 15 meteors per hour.

Every meteor shower has a “radiant point,” which is the point in the sky where they appear to emanate from; and the showers are usually named for the constellation in which the radiant points lie. The Ursids appear to come from The Little Dipper asterism, which is in the constellation Ursa Minor. This is why these showers are named the Ursids.

There have been a few occasions when the Ursids have surprised observers with a sudden outburst many times their normal hourly rate (over 100 per hour in 1945), but such cases are very few and far between.

For Best Viewing

If you want to watch the Ursids, find an open space, nice and dark, free of light pollution, with an unobstructed view of the sky. Bundle up, and plan to spend a few hours watching for them, anywhere between midnight and dawn.

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  • Marilyn says:

    I saw a few very early this morning while traveling thru milaca. Mn

  • If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1919, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.

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