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An Unusual Meteor Spectrum

  • A. F. Cook (a1), C. L. Hemenway (a2), P. M. Millman (a3) and A. Swider (a2)

Abstract

An extraordinary spectrum of a meteor at a velocity of about 18.5±1.0 km s-1 (approximate uncertainty) was observed from the Springhill Meteor Observatory with an image-orthicon camera at 1970 August 10 d2h 48m 518 UT. The radiant of the meteor was at an altitude of about 49°. It was first seen shoioing a yellow-red continuous spectrum alone at a height of 137±8 km (estimated uncertainty) which we ascribe to the first positive group of nitrogen bands. At 1.608 after its initial appearance the meteor had descended to 116±6 km above sea-level when it brightened rapidly from its previous threshold brighness into a uniform continuum. After a further 0.738 at a height of 106±6 km the D-line of neutral sodium appeared and 0.148 later (height 105±5 km) all the other lines of the spectrum also appeared. The continuum remained dominant to the end 0.408 later (height 87±5 km) or 3.878 after initial appearance.

Water of hydration and entrained carbon flakes of characteristic dimension about 0.2 micron or less are proposed as constituents of the meteoroid to explain these phenomena.

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Copyright

References

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