Published online by Cambridge University Press: 01 August 2006
Meteoroids observed to disintegrate in the terrestrial atmosphere can be directly linked to their parent bodies in case that they belong to certain meteor showers. We present a list of two dozens of parent bodies reliably associated with well recognized meteor showers. Among the parent bodies are long period comets, Halley-type comets, Jupiter family comets, comets of the inner solar system (such as 2P/Encke) and asteroids. Physical and chemical properties of meteoroids coming from various parents are compared on the basis of meteor heights, decelerations, light curves and spectra. Jupiter family comets produce meteoroids with the lowest strength, namely porous aggregates of dust grains with bulk densities of about 0.3 g cm−3 or less. Halley type material is somewhat stronger and the material related to comet Encke is even stronger. In addition, small strong constituents, perhaps similar to carbonaceous chondrites, can be encountered within the normal cometary material. The strength of cometary material is also enhanced by long-term exposure to cosmic rays and by solar heating in the vicinity to the Sun (r<0.2 AU). Both these processes lead to the loss of volatile sodium. Southern δ-Aquariids, Geminids and partly also Quadrantids were influenced by solar radiation. We argue that these showers, the asteroids associated with them ((3200) Phaethon and 2003 EH1), and the whole interplanetary complexes they belong to are of cometary origin. The argument is supported by lower than chondritic Fe/Mg ratio found in Geminids as well as in Halley type comets. The typical property of stony meteoroids of asteroidal origin is the presence of internal cracks which cause that the incoming meteoroids are much weaker than the recovered meteorites.
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