The Ursid Meteor Shower peaks tonight, Sunday, December 22, 2019, and into the early morning hours on Monday, December 23, 2019.
This annual December meteor shower usually produces 10 to 15 meteors per hour. But during some years when the Earth passes through a denser portion of a debris trail left behind by a comet, the Ursids Meteor Shower can produce meteor outbursts as high as 45 meteors per hour.
Ursids can be seen on the nights before and after the December 22 peak, although they will appear less frequently.
Ursid Meteor Shower 2019 Start Time
The best time to view this December meteor shower is from after midnight until dawn local time on December 22nd and 23rd.
A waning crescent moon will rise around 4:30 a.m. local time on Monday. But this slightly illuminated moon will not wash out tonight’s Ursid Meteor Shower.
How to watch the December 2019 Ursid Meteor Shower
The Ursids meteor shower can be seen anywhere on Earth’s northern hemisphere, depending on local cloud cover and artificial lighting.
Find the darkest place you can and give your eyes about 30 minutes to adapt to the dark.
Avoid looking at your cell phone because it will blind your adapted night vision. Lie flat on your back and look straight up.
Where to look for the Ursid Meteor Shower
Ursids meteors stream from a point called “the radiant” in the constellation Ursa Minor which means “Little Bear,” and is more commonly known as the Little Dipper.
Polaris, the North Pole Star, is the brightest star in the Little Dipper and appears almost motionless while the other stars rotate around it.
You can find the Little Dipper by looking toward the northern sky.
Once you have found the Little Dipper, the Ursids will appear to radiate from the Little Dipper’s bowl.
Where do the Ursid meteors come from?
Most meteor showers come from comets that spew ample meteoroids for a night of ‘shooting stars.’
Ursids are produced when Earth plows through a cloud of debris left by Comet 8P/Tuttle.