How to see the last meteor shower of the year

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NEW YORK — The final meteor shower of 2023 is set to send meteors streaking across the sky just in time for the holidays.

The Ursids will peak Thursday night during the early morning hours of Friday, according to American Meteor Society. The association said that night owls that brave the cold can see between five and ten meteors per hour.

This year, the Ursids will peak on the same evening as the winter solstice, the longest night of the year for the Northern Hemisphere. On the evening of the solstice, the sun will be at its southernmost position at 8:27 pm GMT. According to Earth Sky.

Weather conditions permitting, the best time to view meteors will be between 3 a.m. and dawn Friday local time, after moonset, according to Robert Lunsford, the association’s fireball reporting coordinator. The moon will be 74% full on peak night, according to the Verge website. American Meteor SocietyIt will interfere with seeing the meteor in the early evening with its bright light, Lunsford said.

Lunsford said the meteor shower will be visible to skygazers in the Northern Hemisphere, and the further north the viewer is, the better, because the radiant constellation will be higher in the sky early at night for those in Alaska or northern Canada.

Unlike the Geminids, which offer high rates of meteor sightings several days before and after the peak, the Ursids have a relatively short period of maximum activity. A rate of 5 to 10 meteors per hour will only be seen during the overnight and early morning hours of the peak, Lunsford said. A few days before and after the peak, the Ursids will produce about one meteor per hour, he said. The Ursids shower began in mid-December and will remain active until December 24th.

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“This shower has created 25- to 30-hour spells sometimes. We don’t expect that. But you never know,” Lunsford said. If you miss Gemini, he added, “here’s a break to see some meteor activity before the end of the year.”

No special equipment is needed to view the meteor shower. NASA Not recommended Use a telescope or binoculars because their field of view is small, as meteors can be seen all over the sky.

Mapping the Ursid meteor shower

The Ursids are an unusual annual meteor shower – their radiant, the point from which the meteors seem to shoot, is not a zodiac constellation. Instead, the Ursids appear to have originated from the constellation Ursa Minor, also known as the Little Dipper.

By recording the time, size and other characteristics of a meteorite sighting, researchers can gather more information about the region of space within Earth’s orbital path — such as how dense the debris clouds are, as well as the time the planet moves through them, Lunsford says. He said.

“If we get enough people to do that (record the meteor viewing time), it maps out the cosmic dust that’s out there and helps us explain why they produce (meteor showers), where they are and what to expect next year.” Lunsford said.

Because the Ursids are not as commonly observed as powerful meteor showers like the Geminids, data on the 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 Meteor Society Through its website.

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The Ursids are the final annual celestial event of the year, but the first meteor shower in 2024 isn’t too far away, as the Quadrantids will peak during… Morning of January 4th.

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