As with all meteor showers, the Ursids are named after the constellation they appear to radiate out from in the sky – in this case Ursa Minor. Meteors appear to shoot out from a region of sky just above the bowl of the Little Dipper.
Considered a minor show – the Ursids only produce on average about 10 to 15 shooting stars per hour -rare times there are bursts of 30 or more per hour. The parent comet is 8P/Tuttle and Earth plows through the debris shed from this icy visitor between Dec.17 and Dec.23.
Best time to see the Ursids is about an hour before local dawn, and because most tend to be faint, they are best viewed from the dark countryside, facing toward the northern sky as this is where the Little Dipper can be found. This year looks to be favourable as the glaring crescent Moon will not be in the sky at peak time. For more details check out the American Meteor Society’s webpage and short blurb at EarhSky.
Tags: Ursa Minor, Ursid meteor shower
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