Tuesday 7 June 2022

The Daytime Arietid Meteor Shower.

The Arietid Meteor Shower lasts from late May to early July each year, and is expected to peak before dawn on Saturday 11 June this year, and originating (appearing to come from) the constellation of Aries. Meteors from this shower can be very bright, leading to the label 'Daytime' Meteors (i.e. meteors that can be seen during the day), although the majority are quite dim, and can be hard to spot. At its peak, the shower can produce about 50 meteors per hour, although this year that peak will fall only three days before the full moon, which will interfere with visibility and make the meteors harder to spot.

The origin point for the Aried Meteors seen from the Northern Hemisphere in early June. Spaceweather.

Meteor streams are thought to come from dust shed by comets as they come close to the Sun and their icy surfaces begin to evaporate away. Although the dust is separated from the comet, it continues to orbit the Sun on roughly the same orbital path, creating a visible meteor shower when the Earth crosses that path, and flecks of dust burn in the upper atmosphere, due to friction with the atmosphere.

The Earth passing through a stream of comet dust, resulting in a meteor shower. Not to scale. Astro Bob.

The origin of the Arietid Meteors is unclear. No body has been confidently identified as the source of the Arietid Meteors, though both the asteroid 1566 Icarus and the comet 96P/Machholz have been suggested. 

How the passage of the Earth through a meteor shower creates a radiant point from which they can be observed. In The Sky.

Though the Arietid  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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