Japan: Sky lights up as meteor shoots over country
2020’s final meteor shower is about to arrive in the form of the Ursids making their annual pre-Christmas visit to Earth. Both expert and amateur stargazers can – weather permitting – have the opportunity of spotting approximately 10 meteors per hour at its peak.
What is the is the Ursids meteor shower?
The Ursids meteor shower is actually the remnants of Comet 8P/Tuttle.
These pieces of cosmic dust originate from the same region of the Little Dipper Constellation, also known as Ursa Minor, or the Little Bear.
But although not as spectacular as their predecessor the Gemini’s, they are worth keeping an eye out for, because they arrive when the night is very dark.
Space Weather said: “This is a minor shower, but a beautiful one because it occurs on a long dark near the northern winter solstice.”
However, the Ursids are periodically capable of producing electrifying shows, when as many as 100 shooting stars an hour become visible.
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What time is the Ursids meteor shower peak?
The shooting stars will appear to appear from the left of the Big Dipper’s bowl.
This constellation is hanging low in the northern heavens during the meteor’s peak time.
The Ursid meteor shower technically runs from Thursday, December 17 to Saturday, December 26 every year.
However, the shower’s peak time is expected to take place in the early morning hours of Tuesday, December 22.
The best bet for budding stargazers is to begin looking for shooting stars a little after midnight (GMT).
The waxing, half-illuminated first quarter Moon sets in the early evening, leaving dark skies hopefully making the meteors all the more remarkable.
Monday is also the date of the December solstice, the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere and the summer solstice in the Southern Hemisphere.
Astronomy highlights for 2021:
January 2 and 3: Quadrantids meteor shower
April 22 and 23: Lyrids meteor shower
April 27: Full Moon Supermoon
May 6 and 7: Eta Aquarids meteor shower
May 26: Full Moon, Supermoon
May 26: Total lunar eclipse
June 10: Annular solar eclipse
June 21: June solstice
June 24: Full Moon and Supermoon
July 28 and 29: Delta Aquarids meteor shower
August 12 and 13: Perseids meteor shower
October 7: Draconids meteor shower
October 21 and 22: Orionids meteor shower
November 4 and 5: Taurids meteor shower
November 17 and 18: Leonids meteor shower
December 4: Total Solar Eclipse
December 13 and 14: Geminids meteor shower
December 21 and 22: Ursids meteor shower
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