The Ursid meteor shower is peaking this weekend, and you can watch it live, right here.
Beginning at 2:30 p.m. PST on Saturday, the website Slooh.com will be live streaming a view of the night sky from its telescopes in the Canary Islands and in Chile. The show will continue through the night.
The Ursid is a little-known meteor shower that peaks just before Christmas each year. It occurs as Earth moves through a stream of dust and debris left in the wake of comet 8/P Tuttle. Tuttle is a periodic comet that completes an eliptical orbit around the sun once every 13.5 years.
This meteor shower is less prolific than the more popular Geminids and Perseids. On an average year, the Ursids are responsible for as many as 40 to 70 meteors per hour, according to NASA. But there have been a few exceptions. In 1945, European observers reported seeing 125 meteors per hour during an especially dazzling Ursid shower.
"The unknown and surprisng nature of these variable displays is what keeps us watching," Slooh astronomer Bob Berman said in a statement.
If you are determined to catch an Ursid in person, start by dressing warmly. Then head to the darkest sky you can find, and you might choose to look to the north. Although the Ursids are visible across the entire sky, they appear to originate from the area around the Little Dipper. They get their name from the constellation Ursa Minor.
Regardless of how you decide to watch, we hope you stay warm, and we wish you happy viewing. Also -- happy holidays!
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