When can UAE residents catch a glimpse of the daytime Arietids meteor shower?

Unlike the other meteor showers that peak after nightfall, the Arietids reaches its maximum intensity during the daytime

by

Nandini Sircar

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File Photo. Image used for illustrative purposes
File Photo. Image used for illustrative purposes

Published: Wed 5 Jun 2024, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Wed 5 Jun 2024, 11:01 PM

Skygazers are in for a celestial treat soon, as the daytime Arietids meteor shower which happens during the daylight hours will reach its annual peak this Friday.

Unlike the other meteor showers that peak after nightfall, the Arietids reaches its maximum intensity during daytime.


“It’s one of the strongest meteor showers but a daytime one, peaking around June 7. This means the bright sunlight makes viewing most meteors difficult," said Sarath Raj, Project Director – Amity Dubai Satellite Ground Station and AmiSat, Amity University Dubai.

"The Arietids shower originates from a point in the constellation Aries, but because it's a daytime shower, the radiant sits very close to the sun in the sky,” he added.


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Relatively low speed

He explained that the Arietids could reach a ZHR (Peak Zenith Hourly Rate) of 60-200 meteors per hour at its peak.

“However, observing these due to the daytime radiant is difficult. The dust particles responsible for the Arietids shower are believed to be from Comet 96P/Machholz. As the comet orbits the sun, it leaves behind a trail of dust. When the Earth passes through this trail, the dust particles collide with our atmosphere and burn up, creating the meteors we see as the shower,” added Raj.

He explained that the Arietid meteors are known for their relatively slow speed, entering Earth's atmosphere at around 21km per second compared to the average of 59km per second for most showers.

“The dust stream that causes the Arietids shower is thought to be quite clumpy, leading to variations in the shower's intensity from year to year,” he added.

At what time does the meteor shower peak?

Experts stressed that there's a chance to view some meteors this week during the final dark hour right before dawn, even though most of this meteor shower will be undetectable to us.

Generally, meteor showers are simple to locate as long as the view is clear without any obstruction.

“Unfortunately, catching the Arietids shower in Dubai will be challenging due to its daytime peak. However, there’s a slight chance of spotting some meteors around dawn 3am on June 7, if we have a clear eastern sky with minimal light pollution,” said Raj.

Planetary parade

In case people missed the planetary parade on June 3, as a bonus for stargazers, there is another one happening next month.

Known as the parade of planets 2024, six planets – Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune – are set to bond again.

According to a Today.com report, the next planetary alignment is scheduled for August 28 and will also involve the same six planets.

“Throughout June, these planets will be visible. However, the best chance of seeing these planets in the pre-dawn sky is roughly an hour before sunrise at around 4.30am,” said Shiras Ahmad Awan, General Manager of Dubai Astronomy Group.

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