The holidays of this year are in front of us, and they will be much brighter when they come. This Friday and Saturday, we should expect the peak of the Ursid meteor shower, the final ticket of catching the shooting stars of 2018.
What to know about this meteor shower?
The animation of NASA shows how a comet approaches the inside of the solar system. This meteor shower radiates or originates from an area which is near to the Ursa Minor constellation, better known as Little Dipper.
This meteor shower is active every year in the period between the 17th of December and the 24th of December. Astronomers reported this meteor shower in 1900 for the first time.
The particles of the meteor come from the Comet 8P/Tuttle that circles our Sun on 14 years. Also, the meteor shower happens when the comet passes the planet Earth, and leaves ‘a trail of comet crumbs’ behind it, or also called space debris.
What differentiates meteoroid, meteorite, and meteor?
Bill Cooke, the head of the Meteoroid Office of NASA, said that the meteoroid is that debris space. For instance, the crumbs coming from the Halley’s Comet represent meteoroids.
When a meteoroid enters the atmosphere of the planet, it becomes a meteor or a shooting star. Even though a lot of the meteors break up before they hit the ground, there are those that do strike the planet’s surface, and they are said to be meteorites.
Who will have the ability to spot the Ursid meteor shower?
We can see this meteor shower from the Northern Hemisphere. To watch it better you should escape the city lights. This phenomenon is going to start appearing on the 21st of December, somewhere after midnight, and then it will occur in the early and dark hours of the morning on the 22nd of December.
As NASA stated, Ursids are the ‘low-key’ meteor shower which produces typically around 5 to 10 shooting stars on every hour. Scientists in the past saw strong outbursts of the Ursid meteor shower. The strongest recorded is the one which occurred in 1945. NASA reported that some observers from Europe saw about 120 meteors in one hour.
Want to see this meteor shower? Put some warm clothes on, go somewhere far away from the city lights, and look north. The meteors will start showing across the whole sky.
Don’t bring a telescope or binoculars. You can use your naked eye. It will do a good job. Tip: go outside 30 minutes before it and then leave your eyes open to adjust to the darkness.
Image Credit: Shutterstock (licensed by SDS)/By Flashinmirror