Friday 7 June 2013

The Arietid Meteors.

The Arietid Meteor Shower lasts from late May to early July each year, peaking on 7-8 June, and originating (appearing to come from) the constellation of Aries. It is, however, notoriously hard to see, since its point of origin is close to the Sun, with the best hopes of a visual sighting being in the hour before dawn.

The origin point for the Aried Meteors in the Northern Hemisphere on 8 June 2013. Spaceweather.

The origin of the Aried Meteors is unclear; most meteor showers occur when the Earth crosses the orbit of a comet or similar body, encountering millions of tiny particles left behind in that body's trail, even if it is not close by itself. No body has been confidently identified as the source of the Aried Meteors, though both the asteroid 1566 Icarus and the comet 96P/Machholz have been suggested. 

Though the Aried Meteors are hard to see, it may be possible to 'hear' them using an FM radio. In order to do this it will be necessary to find a frequency between 88.0 and 108.0 MHz without any transmissions or significant static (this may not be possible in urban areas). Meteors passing though the atmosphere generate radio waves at these frequencies, which can be heard as 'bumps' or 'chirps'. More detailed observations can be used if the radio set-up has a directional antenna, allowing the observer to concentrate on a particular part of the sky (this is essentially what a radio telescope is).

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