URSID METEORS: Earth is passing through a stream of debris from comet 8P/Tuttle and this is causing the annual Ursid meteor shower. Forecasters expect the Ursids to peak on Dec. 22nd with 8 to 10 meteors per hour flying out of the constellation Ursa Minor (the Little Dipper) not far from the north star. The display is usually mild, but outbursts of Ursids occasionally surprise observers with rates many times normal. The last time this happened was in 2006.
Standing outdoors to watch Ursids in December can be a chilling experience. So why not stay inside and listen? Spaceweather.com is broadcasting live audio from the Air Force Space Surveillance Radar in Texas. When a meteor passes over the facility--"ping"--there is an echo. Because the Ursid radiant is circumpolar (always up) over the radar, the echoes may be heard at any hour, night or day. Tune in to http://spaceweather.com to try the audio feed, which can support 1000 simultaneous listeners.
UNIQUE CHRISTMAS GIFT: For less than the cost of a night at the movies, you can give someone the heavens for Christmas. Send them a gift subscription to Spaceweather PHONE: http://spaceweatherphone.com
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