Ursid Meteor Shower: How to Watch the Last Celestial Event of the Year

by Clayton Edwards

The Christmas season is full of small traditions. For example, some families gather in the comfort of their living rooms and watch holiday-themed movies. For others, driving around the more affluent parts of town and looking at decorations is a big part of the season. If you’re looking for something new, you can check out Mother Nature’s holiday light display this year. The Ursid Meteor Shower is lighting up the night sky right now. It will continue to do so until after Christmas.

According to CNN, the Ursid Meteor Shower is a yearly event. Every year, meteors from Comet 8P/Tuttle streak across the December sky. However, the meteors appear to come from Ursa Minor, commonly called the Little Dipper. This year, the meteor shower started on December 17th and will continue until the 26th. But, the best time to see them is on the morning of December 22nd. On the other hand, you may have witnessed part of the Geminid Meteor Shower earlier in the month.

This year, the full moon made the first days of the Ursid Meteor Shower harder to see. However, the moon started to wane after the 18th. So, by the time Christmas rolls around, the moon will be in its last quarter. As a result, the meteors won’t be as hard to see. However, if you want to watch the display, it’ll take a little work.

How to Watch the Ursid Meteor Shower

First and foremost, if you’re not in the Northern Hemisphere, you’re out of luck. That’s the only place the Ursid Meteor Shower will be visible. If you’re in the correct hemisphere, you’ll need to get away from the city. Light pollution makes it harder to see the meteors. But, if you’re anything like the Outsider team, any excuse to get away from the bright lights and noise of the city is welcomed.

After you’re well away from the city, find yourself a dark spot with an unobstructed view of the night sky, Then, get comfortable. You might be there for a while. We suggest grabbing a warm beverage and a couple of friends or loved ones. Spread out a blanket and keep your eyes on the sky.

It’s important to let your eyes adjust to the darkness. This means turning off all sources of artificial light including your cellphone. This will make it easier to see the Ursid Meteor Shower. Typically, stargazers will see three to five meteors per hour. However, if the moon is bright, you may only see one or two.

Photographing Meteors

If you plan on snapping some photos of the Ursid Meteor Shower, you’re going to need more than your cellphone camera. According to a professional photographer interviewed by CNN, you’ll need a camera with long exposure. Additionally, you’ll need a tripod and a fast lens. That photographer suggests f/2.8 or faster for the best photos.