Weak But Spectacular: Bootid Meteor Shower To Peak On 27th June

25th Jun 2024
Weak But Spectacular: Bootid Meteor Shower To Peak On 27th June

On June 27th, skywatchers can witness the peak of the Bootid meteor shower, also known as the Bootids. While typically a weak shower, occasionally, it can surprise with bursts of activity, generating over a hundred meteors per hour.

Origin Of Bootid Meteor Shower

The June Bootid meteor shower comes from a comet called 7P/Pons-Winnecke. Astronomers caution that this shower is hard to predict. It had strong activity in 1998 (50-100 meteors per hour) and 2004 (20-50 meteors per hour). Experts thought it would be active again in 2010, but it only produced fewer than ten meteors per hour. Most years, the June Bootids are not very strong, with about 1-2 meteors per hour.

Comet 7P/Pons-Winnecke

The comet 7P/Pons-Winnecke follows a path that takes it from close to Earth’s orbit to just past Jupiter’s orbit in an oval shape. Pons-Winnecke last came near the inner solar system in 2002. The comet’s tail seems to have clumps of debris. When Earth passes through a dense part of this debris, we get a meteor shower. The June Bootid meteors enter Earth’s atmosphere very fast, at 18 km/s (40,000 mph).

The Best Time To See The Bootid Meteor Shower

The June Bootid meteor shower is active each year from June 26th until July 2nd. In 2024, there are no special predictions about the June Bootids. They reach their maximum on June 27th – soon after the Full Moon, so it’s best to observe the meteors during the three-hour gap between sunset and moonrise. No increased activity is forecast, so don’t expect more than 1-2 meteors per hour.

When Do You See The June Bootids?

the June Bootid radiant
The area of sky around the June Bootid radiant is indicated by a red dot. At 10 p.m. local time on June 27th, the radiant will be directly overhead as seen from mid-north latitude observing sites. Credit: Spaceweather

The Bootid Meteor Shower is best viewed from the Northern Hemisphere, particularly in higher latitudes. In the most successful case, the observers in the UK will have good viewing opportunities for this meteor shower. It appears to radiate from the constellation Bootes (hence the name “Bootids”). To maximize your chances of seeing the meteors, find a location away from city lights with a clear view of the sky.

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