Another month, another meteor shower, ladies and gentlemen. This time, we’ve got the Arietids, which are peaking tonight, June 7. They’ve been appearing since May 22 and will go on to July 2, but if you want to see them, the best time to look to the sky is now.
First discovered in 1947, these meteors emerge from a dense segment of two separate interplanetary meteoroid streams. Although astronomers aren’t certain, it’s likely that they are coming from a slowly disintegrating asteroid named 1566 Icarus.
At night, they may be ironically difficult to see. They appear between the constellations of both Aries and Perseus, which means that the starlight here may be acting as a form of long-distance light pollution. However, you’ll be happy to hear that they form the most intense daylight meteor shower of the year – and they are best seen visible in the twilight hours before dawn.
The apparent origin point of the shower – the Arietid – rises 45 minutes before dawn, regardless of which hemisphere you’re in. At this point, the meteors, moving at 37 kilometers (23 miles) per hour, tend to be “Earthgrazers”, those that move horizontally through the upper atmosphere.