36th DPS Meeting, 8-12 November 2004
Session 33 Comets: Comae
Poster II, Thursday, November 11, 2004, 4:15-7:00pm, Exhibition Hall 1A

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[33.21] The Bulk Density of Meteoroids from Electro-Optical Measurements

J-B. Kikwaya-Eluo, P. Brown (Dept. of Physics and Astronomy, U. Western Ontario, London, Canada), R.L. Hawkes (Physics Dept., Mount Allison U., Sackville, NB Canada)

The mean bulk density of small meteoroids remains a poorly measured quantity. Based on photographic observations of large (gram-sized) meteoroids and the theory of quasi-continuous fragmentation Lebedinets (1987) and Babadzhanov (1994) estimated the average bulk density of meteoroids to be near 3300kg m-3, with values for individual meteoroids ranging from 100 and 8000 kg m-3. These high values are close to the density of solid-iron and stony meteorites and have been shown to contradict some of the assumptions of the quasi-continuous theory (Bellot Rubio et al., 2002).

In contrast, application of the competing single body theory (i.e. the heating of the meteoroid occurs without intensive ablation) on 370 meteors with a magnitude range between +2.5 and -5 mag (McCrosky and Posen, 1961) by Bellot et al. (2002) found low values for the density of meteoroids in a similar mass range. For sporadic meteors, Bellot et al. (2002) found an average density of 800 kg m-3, while the density for individual meteoroids ranged from 100 to 4500 kg m-3.

Here we report our attempt to measure the bulk density of smaller (~mg) meteoroids using the single body model applied to low-light-level tv (LLLTV) observations. Our data are gathered from two stations (separation ~50 km). One station uses a digital, gated image intensifier coupled to a megapixel CCD detector, while the other station uses an image intensifier coupled to a video-rate CCD. The gated sensor permits high temporal snapshots (0.5 ms) of meteors which can then be combined with the LLLTV systems at the second site to define both the trajectory and velocity of the meteoroid to high precision. It is our goal to detect significant deceleration in a sample of both shower and sporadic meteors. Absence of significant wake in the gated images is used as a criterion to select those meteors for which fragmentation is not important and thus application of the single body model is most appropriate.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 36 #4
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