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American Meteor Society

Viewing the Ursid Meteor Shower in 2020

15 Dec 2020, 09:14 UTC
Viewing the Ursid Meteor Shower in 2020
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Location of the Ursid (URS) radiant on December 21/22, looking slightly east (right) of due north.
The Ursid meteor shower is the least observed of the major annual showers. In the northern hemisphere December nights are cold and often cloudy. Another hindrance is the fact that it peaks just before the Christmas holiday when many people are busy with holiday festivities. This shower is completely invisible from the southern hemisphere as the radiant lies too far north to be seen from south of the equator this time of year.
The Ursids are active from December 18-23 with a sharp maximum on December 22nd. Activity is normally low away from maximum with rates less than 1 shower member per hour. At maximum activity this source normally adds 5-10 medium velocity meteors to the 15 or so that are normally seen each morning hour from dark sky sites. This year though, the earth passes close to several past trails of debris that closely follow the orbit of comet 8P/Tuttle. This could enhance the Ursid activity seen this year. See the list of encounters in chronological order below listing the year of the debris trail, the expected time of maximum activity and the ...

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