The latest update on
developments concerning the Leonid MAC airborne campaigns.
Update November 22, 2001
Leonid optical spectra.
Leonid MAC participants have much to be thankful for on this
Thanksgiving day. A first inspection of the high resolution optical
spectroscopy conducted by former Ames Astrobiology Academy student
Emily Schaller of Dartmouth College during the
2001 Leonid MAC mission, shows an abundance of Leonid spectra of a quality
never seen before. 23 spectra and 54 meteors were recorded.
The reproductions to the left
do not do justice to the hundreds of emission lines visible in the
original data. Half of the spectra are the garden variety form, with characteristic
lines of oxygen and nitrogen, but many others show yet unidentified emission lines and
molecular bands. These data will be used to study the temperature of the meteoric
plasma and the abundance of small fragments of organic molecules.
Schaller used a slit-less CCD spectrometer of
Leonid MAC PI Dr. Peter Jenniskens. We are thankful to all that made this
Astrobiology mission a success.
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