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Meteors and the abundance of interplanetary matter

Abstract

Estimates of the spatial density of interplanetary dust are derived from meteor, accretion and zodiacial cloud observations. When the most recent data are considered it is found that there is no longer any serious discrepancy between the extrapolated meteor values and those from the other sources and a density distribution is obtained which extends from meteoroids capable of producing the brightest optical meteors to particles approaching the limiting size beyond which they are removed from the solar system by solar radiation pressure. Impacts on rocket and satellite vehicles lead to much higher estimates of spatial densities and it is concluded that they originate from particles in geocentric orbits belonging to a dust cloud encompassing the earth. The evidence tends to support the view that these particles are captured from the interplanetary dust cloud rather than being produced, as suggested by Whipple, through the impact of meteorites on the moon.

Some suggestions are made for the direction of future rocket and satellite investigations.

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Contribution to the COPERS symposium on “The Interplanetary medium”, held in Paris on June 19, 1962.

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Kaiser, T.R. Meteors and the abundance of interplanetary matter. Space Sci Rev 1, 554–575 (1963). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00225272

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Keywords

  • Radiation
  • Dust
  • Solar Radiation
  • Density Distribution
  • Solar System