Three Peaks of 2011 Draconid Activity Including that Connected with Pre-1900 Material
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A Draconid meteor shower outburst was observed from on board two scientific aircraft deployed above Northern Europe on 8th October 2011. The activity profile was measured using a set of photographic and video cameras. The main peak of the activity occurred around 20:15 ± 0:0.5 UT which is consistent with the model prediction as well as with the IMO network visual observations. The corrected hourly rates reached a value of almost 350. The brighter meteors peaked about 15–20 min earlier than the dimmer ones. This difference can be explained by different directions of the ejection of the meteoroids from the parent comet. One of the instruments was even able to detect meteors connected with the material ejected from the parent comet before 1900 and thus confirmed the prediction of the model, although it was based on uncertain pre-1900 cometary data. Another small peak of the activity, which was caused by material ejected during the 1926 perihelion passage of the parent comet, was detected around 21:10 UT. The mass distribution index determined using the narrow field-of-view video camera was 2.0 ± 0.1. This work shows that the observation of meteor outbursts can constrain the orbital elements, outgassing activity and existence of jets at the surface of a comet.
KeywordsMeteors Meteor showers Draconids
Pavel Koten work was supported by the Grant Agency of the Czech Republic, grant no. 205/09/1302, by the project RVO:67985815 and by the Czech-France bilateral project 7AMB13FR006. Jeremie Vaubaillon thanks to CSAA, PNP, City of Paris and IMCEE for their support. Juraj Toth was supported by the grant APVV-0516-10. The simulations are run on a IBM CGI supercomputer (Jade) at CINES (France). The flight of the DLR Falcon aircraft was supported by EUFAR (FP7 EC funded project). The French aircraft was operated by the SAFIRE team. We thank ESA for making their SPOSH camera available for the campaign. We would like to express our gratitude to the crews of both aircrafts as well as to Kiruna airport ground staff.
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