DPS 35th Meeting, 1-6 September 2003
Session 38. Comets V
Poster, Highlighted on, Friday, September 5, 2003, 3:30-6:00pm, Sierra Ballroom I-II

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[38.24] Investigation of the Ejection and Physical Properties of Large Comet Dust Grains and Their Interaction with Earth's Atmosphere During the 2002 Leonid Multi-Instrument Aircraft Campaign

P. Jenniskens (SETI Institute), R.W. Russell (The Aerospace Corporation), H. Yano (ISAS, Japan), J.M.C. Plane (University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK), I.S. Murray (Regina U., Canada), M.J. Taylor (Utah State U., Logan), J. Borovicka (Ondrejov Obs., Czech Republic), K. Kuenzi (U. Bremen, Germany), W.H. Smith (U. Washington, St. Louis), R.L. Rairden (Lockheed, Palo Alto), H.C. Stenbaek-Nielsen (U. Alaska, Fairbanks), F.J.M. Rietmeijer (U. New Mexico), H. Betlem (Dutch Meteor Society, the Netherlands), J. Martinez-Frias (Centro de Astrobiologia, Torrejon, Spain)

In November 2002, the Leonid Multi-Instrument Aircraft Campaign had its final mission to explore the Leonid meteor storms for what they can tell us about comets, meteors, and how they may have contributed prebiotic compounds to the origin of life. The mission provided an airborne platform to 36 researchers of seven countries. The storms were caused by Earth's crossing of the 1767 and 1866 dust ejecta of comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle. The Center for Astrobiology (CAB) hosted the mission at Torrejon AB in Spain.

In a westward flight back to Omaha, Nebraska, the aircraft encountered the first storm at 04:06 UT on Nov. 19, with rates of ZHR ~ 2,300 /hr, and the second peak at 10:47 UT, when rates increased again to ZHR ~ 2,600 /hr. The wealth of faint meteors made the showers difficult to observe from the ground. The narrow and slightly asymmetric flux profiles add to a three-dimensional map of the dust density in 55P/Tempel-Tuttle's one-revolution dust trail. Meteoroid composition and morphology were measured for numerous individual particles. The first near-IR spectra of meteors were recorded. High frame-rate imaging confirmed the formation of a shock-like feature in bright Leonids, adding to a new understanding of the physical conditions in the rarefied flow of meteors. The interaction of meteors with the atmosphere was investigated at optical and sub-mm wavelengths. Optical and mid-IR emissions of persistent trains were recorded. We will briefly review these first results and their implication for comet dust ejection and evolution in the interplanetary and Earth environment.

The 2002 Leonid MAC mission was supported by NASA's Astrobiology and Planetary Astronomy programs, by ESA, and by CAB. NASA's DC-8 Airborne Laboratory was operated by NASA DFRC and the NKC-135 "FISTA" aircraft by Edwards AFB. Leonid MAC was organized by the SETI Institute and NASA Ames Research Center.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://leonid.arc.nasa.gov. This link was provided by the author. When you follow it, you will leave the Web site for this meeting; to return, you should use the Back comand on your browser.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: pjenniskens@mail.arc.nasa.gov

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35 #4
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.