Ursid Meteor Shower
Earth is heading for a stream of comet dust that could produce a pleasing outburst of "shooting stars" this weekend (Dec 21-23). Forecasters say dozens of meteors per hour could emerge from a spot in the sky near the North Star (Polaris) when Earth encounters the dust on Saturday evening, Dec. 22nd. These meteors are called "Ursids" after Ursa Minor, the constellation where the North Star is located. If forecasting models are correct, the shower's peak will occur between 2100 and 2200 UT (4-5 pm EST) with meteors visible as much as four hours before and after that time.
The source of the dust is Comet 8P/Tuttle, which is traveling through the inner solar system this month and next. The comet itself can be seen through binoculars not far from the radiant of the shower. This gives sky watchers a rare opportunity to see a comet and its meteors in the same observing session.
Ursid meteors, which appear in small numbers annually, have a reputation for faintness and delicacy. Dark skies are usually required to see them; bright moonlight on Dec. 22nd will only exacerbate the problem of visibility. However, say forecasters, during an outburst of Ursids there may be a fair number of bright meteors. No one knows what will happen--all the more reason to look!
Unfortunately, though, a nearly full moon will drown out the fainter meteors.
For more information on the Ursids, see:
Next page: Green Comet Approaches Earth
Bookmark/Share This Page:
Ursid Meteor Shower News
Orionid meteor shower tonight: how to get the best view20 Oct 2014 at 8:05pm The Orionid meteor shower peaks in the early hours of Tuesday, with meteors flitting across the sky at an average pace of about one every three to four minutes.
Orinids Meteor Shower 2014: How and Where to Watch It in the UK, US and Live ...20 Oct 2014 at 2:44pm The annual Orinids meteor shower is set to be particularly spectacular this year as there will be largely dry and clear skies and there is almost no Moon to wash out the meteors this year.
Orionid Meteor Shower Is Peaking Now: How to See It20 Oct 2014 at 2:33pm The Orionid meteor shower is peaking now, and it will likely be a very good show this year, weather permitting. NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama will host a webcast tonight (Oct. 20) starting at 10 p.m. EDT (0200 Oct. 20 GMT) featuring live views of the meteor shower. The Orionids can best be described as a junior version of the famous Perseid meteor shower. The Orionid meteor ...
Peaking Orionid meteor shower to be obscured by nor'easter20 Oct 2014 at 1:39pm Brooks Hays WASHINGTON, Oct. 20 (UPI) -- Weather systems in much of the United States will ruin stargazers' chance to catch Tuesday night's Orionid meteor shower.
Orionids meteor shower20 Oct 2014 at 9:17am The Orionid meteor shower, a trail of debris left in space by Halley's Comet, will light up the night sky tonight and tomorrow