21 December 2023, by Olivia Logan

The Christmas weekend is starting with a sparkle in the Netherlands with the Ursid meteor shower, which is set to peak on the night of December 23, right ahead of the Christmas holidays

Catch the Ursid meteor shower as it peaks on December 23

Adding a little more sparkle to Christmas, the Ursid meteor shower is set to be visible from the Netherlands this weekend, peaking in the skies on December 23.

The starry shower will be visible from December 22 and will reach its zenith the following day. The early robin catches the freshest of frosty worms, so if you want to see the skies at their starriest then you’ll have to be up at 4.30am on both days. Remember your long johns. 

On December 22 and 23 the shower’s current is set to be relatively strong and the conditions are made even riper by the fact that the moon will have set, darkening the night sky and making the shooting stars even brighter. The best views of the shower are expected to last around two hours and will offer up to 10 shooting stars per hour, at least if the weather goes along with the plans.

What are the Ursids and how can I spot them?

The Ursids meteor shower looks as though it radiates from the constellation Ursa Minor – hence the name – but the actual source is debris left behind by the comet 8P / Tuttle. Although often overshadowed by the more prolific Geminids, which peaked earlier this month, the Ursids can sometimes surge to a peak of 25 shooting stars per hour, adding a sprinkle of starlight to some of the longest nights of the year. 

For your best chance of getting a glimpse of a few shooting stars, head out of the city to an area with little to no artificial light, like a national park. Avoid looking at your mobile phone, as this can make it harder for your eyes to adjust to the dark, and keep your fingers and toes crossed that the conditions stay clear! 

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