Meteoroid Properties from Photographic Records of Meteors and Fireballs

Zdeněk Ceplecha
1994 Symposium - International astronomical union  
Statistical criteria based on the single-body theory enabled the distinction of different composition groups of meteoroids in the past. The new single-body model proposed by Pecina and Ceplecha (1983, 1984) is capable of determining the individual values of ablation coefficients, which has proved to be a better tool for separating meteoroids of different ablation properties. However, a significant fraction of fireballs exhibit a time-dependence of residuals, when the single-body model is
more » ... ody model is applied to their photographic observations. This was recently explained by assuming sudden fragmentation at a point (gross-fragmentation). The proposed gross-fragmentation model was checked in exceptional cases, when splitting of a fireball was directly visible on the photographs. The new fragmentation model was then applied to the best photographic records of Prairie Network fireballs (PN). Least-squares fit of computed to observed distances along a meteoroid trajectory determines uniquely the ablation coefficient, the shape-density coefficient, the position of the gross-fragmentation point and the amount of fragmented material relative to the main body mass. This enabled not only a better classification according to ablation coefficient (composition groups), but also a recognition of different strength categories according to dynamic pressure at the fragmentation point. Except for composition groups (types) I, II, IIIA, IIIB, each meteoroid with precise photographic data on its fireball can be classified as NF (no-fragmenting), 1F (with one point of fragmentation) and MF (with many points of fragmentation). The fragmenting meteoroids (1F and MF) can moreover be sorted into several categories (a, b, c, d, e) according to dynamic pressure at the fragmentation point. Thus the classification became two dimensional, separating meteoroid composition from structure. Values of ablation coefficients and bulk-densities were revised using this model. The amount of fragmented mass relatively to the main body was also determined. Typical sudden fragmentation for almost half of all fragmenting meteoroids is equivalent to stripping away slightly more than half of the mass.
doi:10.1017/s0074180900046635 fatcat:u2ifkwhta5djfeajwwdkrljpqq