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Ursids meteor shower to reach its peak on December 22

December 21, 2017, 8:37 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Sky watchers in the Northern Hemisphere will be able to see from five to ten meteors or shooting stars an hour

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© Yuri Smityuk/TASS

MOSCOW, December 21. /TASS/. Sky watchers in the Northern Hemisphere will be able to see from five to ten meteors or shooting stars an hour as the Ursids reach its peak overnight on December 22, the Moscow Planetarium said on its website on Thursday.

The Ursids is a meteor shower that is active annually between December 17 and December 25, with a peak around the December solstice. The shower is named after the constellation Ursa Minor, or the Lesser Bear, as it seems to radiate from that direction.

This meteor shower is associated with Comet 8P/Tuttle, which leaves a trail of dust and debris behind it. When the Earth passes through this trail sky watchers can see the meteor shower.

Although discovered as far back as 1790, Comet 8P/Tuttle took its name after Horace Tuttle who rediscovered it almost 70 years later, in 1858. The comet goes around the sun in 13.6 years and will come closest to our star next time in 2021. The Ursids is the northernmost meteor shower that can be observed only in the Northen Hemisphere. The Ursids are not that spectacular as the Geminids, which occur in early December. The best time to view the Ursids is between midnight and dawn.

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