Orbital properties of the arecibo micrometeoroids at earth interception

D. Janches, D. D. Meisel, J. D. Mathews

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    41 Scopus citations


    Using the Arecibo Observatory (AO) 430-MHz Radar we have developed a Doppler technique to measure very precise micrometeor instantaneous velocities directly from the meteor head echo. In addition, a large number of the observed meteoroids show deceleration. With the velocity, the deceleration, and the assumptions of a spherical shape and a mean micrometeoroid mass density, we have obtained estimates of in-atmosphere particle sizes. The size estimate, the MSIS model atmosphere, and the measured deceleration are used to obtain the meteor extra-atmospheric speeds, assuming these particles undergo little mass-loss prior to and during the time we detect them (Janches et al. 2000b, Icarus145, 53-63). Orbital elements at 1 AU are presented and discussed. These results have not been corrected for perturbation effects such as radiation pressure, Poynting-Robertson drag, attraction by the giant planets, and photoelectric charging effects. So far, over 7700 detections obtained during November 1997 and 3500 during the November 1998 observation campaigns have been analyzed. The observing periods included the Leonids meteor shower, but none of the orbits are recently derived from it. Out of these detections, we present details of over 1500 orbits with eccentricities less than unity. These orbits show (a) a depletion of postperihelion particles with small perihelion distance, suggesting the possibility of collisional and thermal destruction, and (b) an enhancement of particles with perihelia in the zone between Mercury and Venus. Also discussed are 40 β-meteoroids (with radii less than 0.5 μm) dynamically related to the elliptical orbit population with q<0.7 AU. We interpret the latter results on the basis of Poynting-Robertson drag and the electromagnetic resonant effects proposed by G. E. Morfill and E. Grün (1979, Planet. Space Sci.27, 1269-1282). Comparison with previous data sets indicates that most of the AO micrometeoroid orbits are well randomized and that association with a particular parent body is unlikely.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)206-218
    Number of pages13
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - Apr 2001

    All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

    • Astronomy and Astrophysics
    • Space and Planetary Science


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