The Ursit meteor shower peaks this week

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The last meteor shower of 2023 will send meteors across the sky over the holidays.

It says the Ursids will peak Thursday night into early Friday morning American Meteorological Society. Cold-tolerant night owls can see five to 10 meteors per hour, according to the society.

This year, the Ursits peak on the same evening as the winter solstice, the longest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. On the evening of the solstice, the Sun will be due south at 10:27 pm ET. According to EarthSky.

According to Robert Lunsford, Fireball Report Coordinator for the Community, the best time to view the meteors will be between 3 a.m. and dawn local time on Friday after the moon sets. The moon is 74% full on the night at its peak American Meteorological SocietyAnd with its bright light, the meteor will interfere with evening viewing, Lunsford said.

The meteor shower will be visible to skygazers in the Northern Hemisphere, and those looking further north will be better off, Lunsford said, because the radiation is higher in the night sky for those in Alaska or northern Canada.

Unlike the Geminids, meteors occur in greater proportion several days before and after peak. Lunsford said five to 10 meteors per hour are visible only during the night and early morning hours. In the days before and after the peak, the ursids will produce one meteor per hour, he said. The Ursits rain starts in mid-December and remains active until December 24.

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“This shower has been bursting at 25 to 30 an hour. We didn’t expect it. … But you never know,” Lunsford said. If you miss Gemini, “here’s a relief to see some meteor activity before the end of the year,” he added.

No special equipment is needed to view meteor showers. NASA Not recommended The use of binoculars or binoculars, because of their small fields, because meteors can be seen across the sky.

The Ursids are an unusual annual meteor shower – its radiation, the point of origin of the meteors, is not a zodiacal constellation. Instead, the Ursids appear to originate from the constellation Ursa Minor, otherwise known as the Little Dipper.

By recording the timing, size and other characteristics of meteor sightings, researchers can gather more information about the region of space in Earth’s orbit — such as how dense the debris clouds are, as well as the time it takes for the planet to travel through them, Lunsford said.

“If we get enough people to do that (record meteor viewing times), it helps us map the cosmic dust that’s out there and explain what they’re creating (the meteor shower), where they are, and what to expect next year.” Lunsford said.

Because ursids aren’t as commonly seen in strong meteor showers like the Geminids, data on ursids could be considered more valuable to researchers, Lunsford said. Even casual skygazers can contribute to data collection by reporting their meteor sightings to the American Meteorological Society. through its website.

The Ursits are the last annual celestial event of the year, but the first meteor shower isn’t far off in 2024 – when the Quadrantids peak. January 4 morning.

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