In 2018, the Ursids meteor shower is expected to peak on the night of December 22 and early morning hours of December 23. A Full Moon will make it hard for Northern Hemisphere residents to see the shooting stars.
The best time to view the Ursids in 2018 is after dark on December 22 and before the Sun rises on December 23.
Named After Ursa Minor
The Ursids meteor shower is active annually between December 17 and December 24. The shower usually peaks around December 23. At its peak, observers 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 seen from Earth's Northern Hemisphere in late December.
When to View the Ursids
The best time to view the Ursids between midnight (0:00) and before dawn.
What Time Does the Meteor Shower Peak?
The table is updated daily and shows the position of the Ursids radiant in the sky for the upcoming night. Use the date drop down above the animation to change dates.
|Ursids meteor shower for Washington DC (Night between December 22 and December 23)|
|Sat 5:00 pm||347°||29.6°|
|Sat 6:00 pm||350°||27.3°|
|Sat 7:00 pm||354°||25.7°|
|Sat 8:00 pm||358°||24.9°|
|Sat 9:00 pm||2°||24.9°|
|Sat 10:00 pm||6°||25.7°|
|Sat 11:00 pm||10°||27.3°|
|Sun 12:00 midnight||13°||29.6°|
|Sun 1:00 am||16°||32.5°|
|Sun 2:00 am||17°||35.8°|
|Sun 3:00 am||18°||39.4°|
|Sun 4:00 am||18°||43.1°|
|Sun 5:00 am||16°||46.6°|
|Sun 6:00 am||13°||49.6°|
|Sun 7:00 am||9°||51.9°|
Direction to see the Ursids in the sky:
- Azimuth is the direction, based on true north; a compass might show a slightly different value.
- Altitude is height in degrees over horizon.
How to See the Ursids
You don't need any special equipment or a lot of skills to view a meteor shower. Even though all you really need is a clear sky, lots of patience, and our handy meteor shower animation with a visibility conditions meter to see a meteor shower, the following tips can help maximize your shooting star viewing experience.
- Find a secluded viewing spot, away from the city lights. Once at the venue, your eyes may take 15 to 20 minutes to get used to the dark.
- Dress for the weather, and make sure you are comfortable, especially if you plan to stay out long. Bring a blanket or a comfortable chair with you—meteor watching can be a waiting game.
- Once you have found your viewing spot, lie down on the ground and look up in the direction of the radiant. Use the meteor shower animation or the table above to find the current direction of the radiant in the sky.