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Constraining cometary ejection models from meteor storm observations

By Michael Müller, Simon F. Green and Neil McBride

Abstract

Modelling and observations of the Leonids have shown that maxima in the meteor storm activity can be identified as due to particles released from the comet during certain perihelion passages. If the particles originating from a certain perihelion passage can be identified, the next obvious question to ask is what information can be gained about the ejection process of particles from a cometary nucleus. We have developed a method to calculate the set of all possible dust trajectories that reach the Earth at some given time. The method involves numerical integration of a few dust particles only and is applied to the Leonid activity in the year 2000. We show that particles of different sizes entering the Earth's atmosphere at the same time were released from the comet at different heliocentric distances. Therefore one has to make assumptions about the activity of the comet with heliocentric distance in order to derive the cometary mass distribution from an observed meteor mass distribution. However, we outline how lower limits on the ejection velocity of the observed particles can be derived

Publisher: ESA Publications Division
Year: 2001
OAI identifier: oai:oro.open.ac.uk:3401
Provided by: Open Research Online

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