Evidence of Meteoroid Fragmentation in Specular Trail Echoes Observed Using Gadanki MST Radar

A. Patil, A. Malhotra, A. K. Patra, T. R. Prasad, J. D. Mathews

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Scopus citations


    Meteoroids are responsible for deposition of thousands of kilograms of annual mass flux in the Earth’s upper atmosphere but the disintegration mechanisms of these bodies, and hence their composition, still remains a subject of debate in the meteor radar community. The role and significance of fragmentation as a meteoroid disintegration mechanism has been of particular interest in the past few years but in contrast to the head echoes, relatively little work has been done to study the effect and extent of fragmentation on trail echoes observed by the high power large aperture radars. Using the 53 MHz Gadanki MST radar, we present examples of radar meteor trails whose evolution cannot be explained with just the aid of classical meteor ablation theory. These examples are analyzed and discussed on a case-by-case basis and it is reported that the evolution of these trails can be explained with the help of fragmentation. This study will form the basis for future modeling efforts of fragmenting meteor trails and has important implications on the form in which the meteoroid mass is deposited in the upper atmosphere.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)89-99
    Number of pages11
    JournalEarth, Moon and Planets
    Issue number3-4
    StatePublished - Feb 2015

    All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

    • Astronomy and Astrophysics
    • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
    • Space and Planetary Science


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