Ursid Meteor Shower
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

The Ursid Meteor Shower Will Light Up the Sky This Weekend

The last meteor shower of the year will take place this weekend. The Ursid meteor shower will peak this weekend and will be at its brightest on Friday, Dec. 21 and Saturday, Dec. 22.

The radiant point of the Ursid meteor shower is the constellation Ursa Minor, or the Little Dipper. The Ursids are active every year between Dec. 17 and Dec. 24. This year, however, a full moon — known as the Cold Moon — will make the meteors more difficult to see. The full moon will be at its peak on Dec. 22, one day after the Winter Solstice. The moon will appear full for several days.

For the best meteor-watching, try to get as far away from the city lights as you can. The shower is best viewed with the naked eye as binoculars and telescopes narrow the field of view. NASA meteor shower expert Bill Cooke told Space.com that it takes about 30 minutes for our eyes to adjust to the night sky to view the meteors, so it's best to plan to head outside in advance of the shower.

According to the American Meteor Society, about 11 meteors per hour are expected during the peak of the Ursids meteor shower. The meteors will be most frequent just before dawn.

The particles of the meteor originated from the Comet 8P/Tuttle, which orbits the sun every 14 years.

Space.com reports that the first Ursid Meteor Shower was reported in 1900 in England. The strongest outburst of Ursids occurred in 1945.

Don't miss your chance to see the last shooting stars of the year!

Now Watch: Take a Scenic Train Ride Across the U.S. for $213