Final meteor shower of the year to reach its peak this week
The UK is set to be illuminated by the final meteor shower of the year this week.
Active between December 17 and 25, the Ursid meteor shower is expected to be at its most visible on Wednesday, December 22.
At its peak, the Ursid display is usually sparse, producing around five meteors per hour.
With the shower occurring around the time of the winter solstice, people will have maximum hours of darkness to try to spot the shooting stars.
Ursid meteors appear to radiate from near the Beta Ursae Minoris (Kochab) in the constellation Ursa Minor.
But the source of the shooting stars is a stream of debris left behind by the Tuttle comet.
The meteor shower will be visible with the naked eye, but skygazers will need to let their eyes adjust to the darkness.
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Dr Greg Brown, astronomer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, said: "The Ursids meteor shower is a fairly minor display occurring in late December. With at best around 10 meteors per hour in ideal conditions, many observers won’t see more than a few meteors even around the peak.
"However, if you want to try and see this shower for yourself the usual tips apply.
"Try and find a place with a low horizon to grant yourself the best view of the sky, and wait for the early hours of the morning when the shower will be at its best.
"Fill your view with as much of the sky as possible, a deckchair can be a real help here, and wait.
"Eventually, you’ll see the bright streaks of light that are due to the Earth smashing into a trail of dust left behind the Comet 8P/Tuttle.
"But most importantly of all for this mid-winter display, don’t forget to wrap up warm."