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June - Not a Major Meteor Month

Jane Houston Jones

On any given night, assuming it is clear, an observer can expect to see about 7 meteors. These sporadic meteors are a measure of the everyday cometary debris entering our atmosphere. And it holds up all over the world. 7 meteors are to be seen everywhere on earth, every night. I sort of like that feeling that we astronomers are connected to each other by what we do and what we see. Each night, while I'm out observing, my astro-friends on other continents are doing the same thing. And we all get lucky every night. We all see a little speck from the birth of the solar system light up our night.

Watching sporadics on any night can make up for the fact that there aren't any major showers this month. Two minor showers of interest will generate maybe as many meteors as the sporadics.

The Arietids peak on June 7th (May 22 through July 2). Short wave radios can pick up the brief signal of radio stations being reflected off the ionized trails of meteors. Like the way the ionosphere reflects most radio waves. At 30 degrees west of the sun (appearing from Aries the Ram) and rising an hour before dawn means I wouldn't plan a meteor party or anything. If you happen to be on the equator about this time, I'd definately give it a look.

The June Bootids peak on June 27th (June 26 - July 2). The ZHR goes from 0 to 100, leaning toward the 0. This shower has only been active three times this century. But a surprisingly strong shower appeared in 1998, leading the IMO to put the shower back on its "Working List of Visual Meteor Showers" It's worth a look though, as the Bootids are slow moving, rambling through the sky. Lazy and slow, a dramatic change of meteor pace from the fast Persieds we'll all be seeing in August. Bootes is well placed all night long, and the radiant is in northern Bootes. The date, a mere four days past new moon at the expected peak means that we'll have dark skies, too! Jane says definately take a look for this one! And drop the editors a line if you have any meteoric experiences; we'd love to post some observations in the newsletter!

Mail to: Jane Houston Jones
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Last updated: July 19, 2007

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