A pre-Christmas present: Ursids meteor shower to peak over Switzerland
In the lead-up to Christmas, people across Switzerland will soon be treated to quite the present, with the Ursid meteor shower set to peak on the night of December 23 - let’s hope the weather plays ball this time!
Ursid meteor shower to light up the skies of Switzerland
While it did start on December 13, the Ursid meteor shower is due to peak over Switzerland on December 22 and 23. 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.
Stargazers across Swiss cities and cantons will be happy to learn that the shower should be largely free of natural light pollution. During the peak, the moon should have set, darkening the night sky and making the shooting stars even brighter.
The meteors themselves are caused by debris left behind by the comet 8P / Tuttle. At the peak, up to 10 shooting stars are expected each hour, with most radiating from the Kochab star in the Ursa Minor constellation - the constellation where the meteor shower gets its name.
Ursids in Switzerland: Fingers crossed for good weather!
After the magnificence of both the Perseids and the Geminids meteor showers were shrouded in clouds for most across Switzerland this year, many would hope that the weather would allow stargazers to see the Ursids - and for a small part of the country, we have good news! While it is expected to be cloudy north of the Alps - although you may still be able to spot a few meteors through the cloud cover - Canton Ticino and areas of the mountains are expected to be clearer.
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. 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!