Ursids – a pre-Christmas meteor shower that somethings springs surprises (as happened in 2014)
|Main Activity Dates||Dec 17 – 25|
|Peak Rates||Dec 22 – 23|
|Peak ZHR||10 (usually)|
|Best Observed Rates||Middle of the night of Dec 22-23|
|Visibility each night (UK)||Visible all night|
|Moonlight issues at Maximum||Minor – Crescent Moon in early evening|
Ursid activity can be seen from approx Dec 17-25, with peak rates likely on Dec 22-23. The radiant (see the chart below) lies close to the star beta Ursae Minoris (Kochab), is circumpolar from the UK and is highest in the sky late in the night.
Enhanced Ursid rates have been seen on several occasions, including in 2014. However, no significant enhanced activity has currently been predicted for 2017 (there is an encounter with a very old dust trail around Dec 22d 15h UT). The Ursid meteor shower is linked to periodic comet 8P/Tuttle, but there has been no correlation seen between the timing of enhanced Ursid activity and perihelion returns of the parent comet.
With New Moon having occurred on Dec 18, moonlight circumstances are good for the 2017 peak.