Beyond The Forecast: A minor meteor shower peaks tonight, will you be able to see it?

(Copyright 2020 by WSLS 10 - All rights reserved.)

Happy Monday! We here at Your Local Weather Authority truly enjoy telling you about all the happenings in the night sky. You probably already know about the “Christmas star,” which we’ve talked about in great detail. In case you missed it, Chris Michaels has a great write-up on how rare this is and what exactly is happening during the “Great Conjunction of 2020.”

I’m going to use the space of this newsletter to tell you about another celestial event: the Ursid meteor shower. If you haven’t heard of it, that’s not surprising as it is a relatively new phenomenon. While many meteor showers like the Geminids and Perseids have been viewed for centuries, the Ursids were first documented in the 1900s.

The shower gets its name from the constellation it originates from: Ursa Minor (also known as the Little Dipper).

The minor shower peaks tonight and five to ten meteors per hour could be visible. The best time to look will be after moonset, which is at 12:25 a.m. We have our fingers crossed that clouds won’t obscure your view.

(Copyright 2020 by WSLS 10 - All rights reserved.)

Although the shower peaks tonight, it could still be visible through Christmas. The best night to view it this week may be Tuesday night, as we expect mostly clear skies overhead. That could also be your best opportunity to see Jupiter and Saturn in close proximity during the evening.

(Copyright 2020 by WSLS 10 - All rights reserved.)

If you’re able to catch a photograph of the Ursids or the Christmas star, feel free to share with us via email, social media or the Pin It! feature on the WSLS weather app.

We have two weather systems to track in the days leading up to Christmas. There also will be some ups and downs in the temperature department. I have a look at what you can expect in this morning’s forecast article.

You can always get specific forecast details for your zone, whether it’s the Roanoke Valley, Southside, Highlands or elsewhere around Southwest and Central Virginia, anytime at Know your zone!

In case you missed it, we’re posting great weather and science content on Here are a few links from the past week to check out:

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-- Justin McKee

About the Author:

Justin McKee presents the weather forecast on 10 News Saturday and Sunday mornings from 6 to 8 a.m. He also fills in for other meteorologists during the week.