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Ursids: Winter Solstice Meteor Shower | The Last Shooting Stars of 2018

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Friday, December 21, 2018 - 11:59 pm | Cost: FREE
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The annual Ursid meteor shower always peaks near the time of the December winter solstice.

The Ursid shower will have to contend with the light of a bright waxing gibbous moon across the weekend and in the days ahead. This shower favors the more northerly latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere. Even at far northerly latitudes, it’s generally a low-key production, not nearly as exciting as the Quadrantids in early January. Not scared off yet? Keep reading, and you just might see some meteors.

Die-hard meteor watchers usually start watching for Ursid meteors around now, as this low-key meteor shower is active each year from about December 17 to 26.

The Ursids usually peak around the December solstice, perhaps offering 5 to 10 meteors per hour during the predawn hours in a dark sky.

This year, in 2018, the peak of the Ursid shower falls on the same date as the full moon, on December 22 – so the full moon is sure to put a damper on this year’s display.

All meteors in annual showers have radiant points on the sky’s dome, and the showers take their names from the constellations in which the radiant points lie. The Little Dipper asterism is in the constellation Ursa Minor the Lesser Bear – hence, the Ursid meteor shower.

This shower has been known to produce short bursts of over 100 meteors per hour, but typically the shower is much sparser than that. In a dark sky, it might produce only five to 10 meteors per hour at its peak.

Source: EarthSky


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Categories: **Annual Event**, *Top Pick*, Celestial Events, San Francisco Bay Area, Solstice
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