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2015 Ursids meteor shower

The Ursids will peak around December 21 in 2015. This year, the meteor shower will coincide with a full Moon creating difficult viewing conditions.

Illustration image
Ursids is a December meteor shower.
The best time to see the Ursids is right after midnight and before dawn
©iStockphoto.com/Maks08

The Ursids meteor shower is active annually between December 17 and December 23. The shower usually peaks around December 21 or 22. At its peak, obeservers may be able to view as many as 10 meteors in an hour.

The shower is named the Ursids because the meteors seem to radiate from the direction of the constellation Ursa Minor in the sky.

The Ursids are associated with the comet, 8P/Tuttle, also sometimes known as Mechain-Tuttle's Comet.

Where to view the Ursids

The Ursids can only be observed from locations in the Northern Hemisphere.

When to view the Ursids

The best time to view the Ursids between midnight (0:00) and before dawn.

Location in the sky

The Ursids meteor shower is not visible at this time of year. The best date is around Dec 23, 2015, table below is for that date:
Ursids meteor shower for Washington DC (Night between Dec 23 and Dec 24)
TimeAzimuth/DirectionAltitude
Wed 6:00 PM352°North29.0°
Wed 7:00 PM355°North27.7°
Wed 8:00 PM358°North27.0°
Wed 9:00 PMNorth27.0°
Wed 10:00 PMNorth27.8°
Wed 11:00 PMNorth29.2°
Midnight Wed-Thu11°North31.2°
Thu 1:00 AM13°North-northeast33.7°
Thu 2:00 AM15°North-northeast36.6°
Thu 3:00 AM15°North-northeast39.7°
Thu 4:00 AM15°North-northeast42.8°
Thu 5:00 AM13°North-northeast45.7°
Thu 6:00 AM11°North48.1°
Note: times are for Dec 23, 2015.
Set your location

How to view the Ursids

There isn’t a lot of skill involved in watching a meteor shower. Here are some tips on how to maximize your time looking for the Ursids:

  • Get out of the city to a place where city and artificial lights do not impede your viewing
  • If you are out viewing the shower during its peak, you will not need any special equipment. You should be able to see the shower with your naked eyes.
  • Carry a blanket or a comfortable chair with you - viewing meteors, just like any other kind of star gazing is a waiting game, and you need to be comfortable. Plus, you may not want to leave until you can’t see the majestic celestial fireworks anymore.
  • Check the weather and moonrise and moonset timings for your location before you leave, and plan your viewing around it.
  • Topics: Astronomy, Meteors, Moon, December, Northern Hemisphere

In this Article

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Meteor Showers Library

  1. April 2015: Lyrids
  2. May 2015: Eta Aquarids
  3. August 2015: Perseids
  4. October 2015: Draconids
  5. October 2015: Orionids
  6. November 2015: Leonids
  7. December 2015: Geminids
  8. December 2015: Ursids
  9. January 2016: Quadrantids

What is a Meteor Shower?

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