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LEONID DAILY NEWS: November 22, 2002

meteor spectrum

Figure 1: Optical spectrum of the 05:15:16 UT Leonid.


The SETI Institute cooled CCD spectrograph (P. Jenniskens, P.I.) was very successful in capturing optical spectra of Leonid meteors during the 2002 Leonid MAC mission. The instrument was operated by Emily Schaller of Caltech, who captured the particularly nice result shown above. This meteor shows a newly discovered molecular band emission in an early part of its trajectory, idenfied as the molecular oxygen B-band, where the metal atom ablation lines are still weak.

HDTV spectrum Figure 2: Leonid meteor and afterglow


Faint meteors were targeted by the NASA Ames code JIT videographers Greg Merkes and Jesse Carpenter onboard FISTA, who filmed hundreds of spectra of intrinsically faint meteors with a High Definition TV camera and the SETI Institute low-resolution spectrograph. Sometimes, a bright meteor is also captured. The figure above shows afterglow and recombination lines, discovered in prior campaigns by Jiri Borovicka and Peter Jenniskens.

meteor spectrum 2 Figure 3: Optical spectrum of the -1 magnitude 04:24:20 UT Leonid, observed visually through the aircraft window.


Jiri Borovicka reports that the Ondrejov video spectrometer worked well. At least 130 low resolution meteor spectra of various quality were obtained during the first 90 minutes of observation, which included the 4 UT peak. A summary image of one of the best spectra is shown. This completes homogeneous material of Leonid video spectra taken with the same camera in 5 different years (1998-2002). These data will be used to compare meteors from various trails, mainly in respect of the Na/Mg/Fe ratios and of the effect of early release of sodium.

Previous news items:
Nov 22 - New molecular band detected
Nov 21 - Leonids tracked
Nov 20 - Asteroids named after Leonid MAC participants
Nov 19 - Leonid storms rich in faint meteors
Oct 22 - Collecting meteoroid debris from snow cover
Oct 21 - Highlights COSPAR/World Space Congress
Aug 31 - First UV spectrum: Leonid from space
Dec 11 - Shocking Leonid
Dec 01 - Moon impacts
Nov 26 - Near-IR persistent train emission
Nov 24 - Results of near-real time flux measurements
Nov 22 - Wowh! Optical meteor spectra
Dec. 25 - Ursid shower circular IMO
Dec. 24 - Ursid shows early release of sodium
Dec. 23 - Ursid outburst confirmed
Dec. 18 - Dec 22 Ursid outburst
Nov. 20 - A bacterial fingerprint?
Nov. 15 - HCN disappears mysteriously
Nov. 14 - Meteor shower from space
Nov. 13 - Organic fingerprint
Nov. 12 - Train airglow chemistry
Nov. 11 - Hard bits and persisting glows
Nov. 10 - Meteoroid debris detected
Nov. 09 - New meteor picture
Nov. 08 - Spin city
Nov. 07 - Meteors affect atmospheric chemistry
Nov. 06 - Listen to this!
Nov. 04 - Fear of heights?
Nov. 03 - The pale (infra-red) dot
Nov. 02 - Twin showers
Nov. 01 - Leonids approaching Earth
Oct. 31 - Prospects for Moon Impact Studies
Oct. 30 - Comet dust crumbled less fine
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Results of this work were published in Astrobiology Journal.

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