In this paper, we use radar observations from a 50 MHz radar stationed near Salinas, Puerto Rico, to study the variability of specular as well as non-specular meteor trails in the E-region ionosphere. The observations were made from 18:00 to 08:00 h AST over various days in 1998 and 1999 during the Coqui II Campaign [Urbina et al., 2000, Geophys. Rev. Lett. 27, 2853-2856]. The radar system had two sub-arrays, both produced beams pointed to the north in the magnetic meridian plane, perpendicular to the magnetic field, at an elevation angle of approximately 41 degrees. The Coqui II radar is sensitive to at least two types of echoes from meteor trails: (1) Specular reflections from trails oriented perpendicular to the radar beam, and (2) scattering, or, non-specular reflections, from trails deposited with arbitrary orientations. We examine and compare the diurnal and seasonal variability of echoes from specular and non-specular returns observed with the Coqui II radar. We also compare these results with meteor head echo observations made with the Arecibo 430 MHz radar. We use common region observations of these three types of meteor echoes to show that the diurnal and seasonal variability of specular trails, non-specular trails, and head echoes are not equivalent. The implications of these results on global meteor mass flux estimates obtained from specular meteor observations remains to be examined.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Space and Planetary Science