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
2014 Meteor Showers | StarDate Online21 Sep 2014 at 9:57am The next meteor shower is the Orionids on the nights of October 20-21. Named for the constellation Orion, the hunter, which is notable for its three-star belt and for ...
Meteor Shower - snopes.com: Urban Legends Reference Pages20 Sep 2014 at 8:43pm A meteor shower will be visible in North America in mid-August 2014.
Meteor shower - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia20 Sep 2014 at 1:55pm A meteor shower is a celestial event in which a number of meteors are observed to radiate, or originate, from one point in the night sky. These meteors are caused by ...
meteor showers 2014 guide dates shooting stars comets leonids19 Sep 2014 at 11:25am See the Almanac's Meteor Showers Guide for 2014 for the dates of all the principal meteor showers during the year?plus viewing tips. Meteor Showers Viewing Tips
New Meteor Shower Could Make For Heavenly Viewing - FoxWeekly13 Sep 2014 at 2:56pm
New Meteor Shower Could Make For Heavenly Viewing
Night skywatchers are anticipating a rare debut of a never-before-seen meteor shower this Friday and Saturday evening. The cosmic premiere of the May Camelopardalids could even rival the prolific Perseid shower in August, according to NASA.