DR. SKY BLOG

An update on meteor showers expected to flash across the skies in June

Jun 8, 2022, 2:00 PM
(Pexels Photo)...
(Pexels Photo)
(Pexels Photo)

With recent talk of some possible meteor shower and meteor storms, the month of June is known for the most intense period of meteors in the calendar year.

While many may find that to be a bit of a surprise, as some may know of the August Perseids and the December Geminids, as the best and most intense of the year.

The month of June produces the most meteors in a calendar year.

How can that be?

During June, the daytime skies light up with at least three of these “daytime” meteor showers. The first of these is the annual Arietids meteor shower, which are particles from periodic comet 96P / Machholz. The rates of this shower call for meteors being detected at least one every 20 seconds!

The history of this comet is listed here.

You may be wondering why I am even discussing this, as the sun is in the general direction of where these meteors are coming from and you will not see any of these.

There is another part of the story which needs to be told here!

During this month, there have been many daylight sightings of bright fireballs and another major world event in 1908, which may be related to these daylight meteor showers.

This was an amazing Earth-grazing fireball, which bounced off the atmosphere at some 35 miles overhead.

This is what it looked like.

The month of June can produce some bright fireballs from this meteor shower and the next two, the June Zeta Perseids, which peak on the 17th and the Beta Taurids on the 29th.

So, as you look to the daytime skies during this week, know that meteor activity may be strong, just 20 degrees to the right of the sun!

Never stare at the sun at all, but know that this could produce some potential daytime fireballs.

The last of our daylight fireballs is one of the most amazing in recorded history.

On June 30, 1908, a massive piece of an asteroid or comet entered the atmosphere over far northern Siberia. This object exploded over the Earth with the force of a small nuclear weapon. It’s known as the Tunguska event.

Here are the details.

This was one of the most powerful atmospheric events in history.

So, as you enjoy the wonders of our Arizona night skies, know that June is a very active month for meteors and possible daylight fireballs!

To print your own monthly star chart, click here.

To view satellites/dates/times of passage, click here.

Listen to the Dr. Sky Show on KTAR News 92.3 FM every Saturday at 3 a.m.

Podcasts are available here.

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An update on meteor showers expected to flash across the skies in June