Winter trifecta: Solstice, full moon, meteor shower on Friday, Saturday

MILWAUKEE -- There will be a winter trifecta the next few days with the winter solstice, a full moon and a meteor shower.

The winter solstice -- when the Earth's titled axis is facing its farthest from the sun in the Northern Hemisphere -- happens at 3:23 p.m. Friday and marks the start of winter.

Friday will also be the day with the least amount of daylight. Starting Saturday, daylight will gradually extend each day until the summer solstice in June.

The full moon -- dubbed the Cold Moon -- happens at 10:49 a.m. Saturday, but it will appear to be full for several days, including on the day of the solstice.

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

The Ursid meteor shower is expected to take place on Friday and Saturday nights.

The American Meteor Society says at the peak, there should be about 11 sporadic meteors per hour just before dawn.

The shower gets its name because meteors appear to emanate from Ursa Minor, also known as the Little Dipper. But because of the full moon, it might be hard to spot the meteors.

Also just before sunrise Friday in the southeast sky, Mercury and Jupiter will be in conjunction.

They will be 0.9 degrees apart, which is about two moon-diameters. They will be visible in a bright twilight.