Winter trifecta: Solstice, full moon, meteor shower to combine Friday, Saturday

Simply look up!

From our friends at Heartland Weekend. 

A rare combination will put on a show in the sky this weekend.

The winter solstice, a full moon, and a meteor shower will create a winter trifecta Friday and Saturday.


Triple Play Facts:

Let’s start with the winter solstice. That’s when Earth’s axis tilts the Northern Hemisphere the farthest from the Sun. It happens when the sun is directly over the Tropic of Capricorn, which will be about 4:23 p.m. Central time on Friday.

Friday is also the shortest day of 2018. Missouri will see only about 9 hours and 21 minutes of daylight. Starting Saturday, daylight will gradually get longer each day until the summer solstice in June.

The winter solstice also marks the official first day of winter.

The full moon, dubbed as the cold moon, will appear full both Friday and Saturday nights.

The last time the full moon coincided with the winter solstice was in 2010. The next time it will happen will be in 2094.

A display of shooting stars making up the Ursid meteor shower will also fill the night sky on Friday and Saturday.

The Ursid meteor shower will reach its peak with 11 sporadic meteors per hour just before dawn.

The shower gets its name because its meteors appear to originate from Ursa Minor, also known as the Little Dipper.

The not so good news: since the moon will be so bright, the meteors will likely be hard to spot.

And there’s more.

Just before sunrise Friday in the southeast sky, Mercury and Jupiter will appear as if they’re about to collide in space, despite being hundreds of millions of miles apart.

Truly, they will be 0.9 degrees apart, which is about two moon-diameters.

They will only be visible in a sky illuminated by bright twilight.