An early Christmas gift: Ursids meteor shower to light up the skies
The Christmas holidays are fast approaching (yay!) and mother nature has organised a very special early Christmas present this year, with the Ursids meteor shower peaking in the Netherlands on the night of December 22.
What is the Ursids meteor shower?
Sadly, the Ursids offer significantly less of a show than the Geminids, which peaked earlier this month. At the peak of the shower, there will only be up to five meteors per hour.
While the Ursids meteor shower looks as though it radiates from the constellation Ursa Minor - which is how the shower got its name - experts say the actual source is debris left behind by the comet 8P / Tuttle.
How and when to spot the Ursids from the Netherlands
In the Netherlands, the Ursids will be peaking on the night of December 22 to December 23 this year. The good news is that, while the meteor shower is fairly sparse in nature, the conditions are pretty great this year - not only is the peak very near to the longest night of the year (December 21), but it will also take place on the night of a New Moon.
This means you won’t have to stay up too late or get up too early to be in with a shot of seeing a few shooting stars. For your best chance to catch a glimpse of the astronomical show, head out of the city to an area with little to no artificial light, like a national park, and keep your fingers (and toes!) crossed that the Dutch weather stays nice and clear.