This Meteor Shower Is Lighting Up the Sky This Week — and Will Peak Tonight

Is it Santa, or a shooting star?

A bright Ursid meteor shooting across the night sky
A bright Ursid meteor seen on December 18, 2016 in Tucson, Arizona. Photo:

Courtesy of Eliot Herman

Holiday lights aren’t the only things twinkling this week — the Ursid Meteor Shower, set to peak Thursday night, could send up to five to 10 meteors per hour soaring through the sky.

The Ursids may not be the most active of the year’s meteor showers, but the week’s new moon will provide optimal viewing conditions. You can further enhance your shooting-star odds by traveling to a dark-sky park with wide-open views of the night sky. 

Ready to kick off the holidays with a shooting star (or 10)? Here’s how to see the Ursid Meteor Shower at its peak, including where and when to look.

What is the Ursid Meteor Shower?

The Ursids are an annual winter meteor shower that runs this year from Dec. 17 to 26. The shower reaches its peak overnight on Dec. 22. Ursid meteors appear near the Ursa Minor (Little Dipper) constellation, and originate from the comet 8P/ Tuttle, according to Royal Museums Greenwich

Unlike similar 2022 spectacles, such as the Taurid meteor shower, the Ursid shower isn’t known for over-the-top shooting stars or fireballs. That said, a new moon will help those meteors stand out.

A person takes a photo with a camera on a tripod of the Milky Way at Nallihan district, in Ankara

 Adem Altan/Getty Images

Where to watch the Ursids in 2022

The Ursid meteor shower is most visible from the northern hemisphere. According to, the shower occurs near the Little Dipper, but keep your eyes peeled across the sky, as the shooting stars can appear all over. The Little Dipper will travel higher and higher into the sky from late night into pre-dawn.

In order to catch the show, you’ll need to give your eyes at least 20 minutes to adjust to the darkness (binoculars and telescopes are not required). This means you’ll be out in the winter elements, at night, so make sure to dress warmly in warm winter jackets and boots.

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