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An Unusual Meteor Spectrum

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 April 2016

A. F. Cook
Affiliation:
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and Harvard College Observatory Cambridge, Massachusetts
C. L. Hemenway
Affiliation:
State University of New York at Albany and Dudley Observatory Albany, New York
P. M. Millman
Affiliation:
National Research Council of Canada Ottawa, Ontario
A. Swider
Affiliation:
State University of New York at Albany and Dudley Observatory Albany, New York
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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.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © NASA 1971

References

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