Less than two weeks after the biggest meteor shower of the year, the celestial sky will give an early Christmas gift with the final meteor shower of the year – the Ursids.
Dubbed a “low-key” meteor shower by Earth Sky, viewers can see as many as five to 10 meteors per hour in a dark sky during the peak. The best time to see the shower is before dawn on Thursday and Friday, according to the site.
In rare chances, Earth Sky says bursts of 100 or more meteors per hour have been observed.
The Ursid meteor shower won’t produce nearly the same amount of meteors as the Geminids did earlier this month, but it will give people the chance to see some space rocks streak across the sky just before Christmas Eve. Plus, the brightness of the moon won’t get in the way.
The Ursid meteor shower goes from Dec. 13 through Dec. 24, with a peak typically around the winter solstice.
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How to watch the Ursid meteor shower
The moon will be a faint waning crescent, Earth Sky says, meaning its light shouldn’t interfere with meteor shower viewing.
People can begin to see meteors late Wednesday night, as the American Meteor Society says the peak will be in the early hours of Thursday morning, and its best to watch for several hours so viewers can see the “peaks” and “valleys” of meteor activity. Meteors will also be visible the Thursday night into Friday morning.
Earth Sky recommends viewers try to watch from a country location to avoid light pollution. It also advises people try to recline while looking up at the sky, and to dress warm since the December nights can get cold, especially with much of the country bracing for a fierce winter storm.
Follow Jordan Mendoza on Twitter: @jordan_mendoza5.