Astronomical School’s Report, 2021, Volume 17, Issue 1-2, Pages 1–8
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UDC 523.68

The physics of space intrusions. III. Colorimetry of meteors

Zhilyaev B.E., Vid'machenko A.P., Petukhov V.N., Reshetnyk V.N., Verlyuk I.A., Pokhvala S.M.

The Main Astronomical Observatory of the NAS of Ukraine, 03143, Academician Zabolotny str., 27, Kyiv, Ukraine


This article describes our approach to quantifying the characteristics of meteors such as temperature, chemical composition, and others. The program includes new algorithms for estimating temperature, heat radiation emitted by a fireball, and spectra of meteors containing emission lines. We are using a new approach based on colourimetry. We analyze an image of Leonid meteor-6230 obtained by Mike Hankey in 2012. Analysis of the temporal features of the meteoroid trail is performed. The main fluctuations in the brightness and wobbling of the meteor trail are observed at a frequency of about 3 Hz. The brightness variations in the integrated light are about 3%. The amplitude of the wobbling is about 2%. For determining the meteor characteristics we use the “tuning technique” in combination with a simulation model of intrusion. The progenitor of the meteor was found as an object weighing 900 kg at a speed of 36.5 km/s. The meteoroid reached a critical value of the pressure at an altitude of about 29 km in a time of about 4.6 sec with a residual mass of about 20 kg, and a residual speed of about 28 km/s. At this moment, a meteoroid exploded and destroyed. We use the meteor multicolour light curves revealed from a DSLR image in the RGB colour standard. We switch from the RGB colour system to Johnson's RVB colour system introducing colour corrections. This allows one to determine the colour characteristics of the meteor radiation. We are using a new approach based on colourimetry. Colourimetry of BGR three-beam light curves allows the identification of the brightest spectral lines. Our approach based on colourimetry allows direct measurements of temperature in the meteor trail. We find a part of the trajectory where the meteoroid radiates as an absolutely black body. The R/G and B/G light curves ratio allow one to identify the wavelengths of the emission lines using the transmission curves of the RGB filters. At the end of the trajectory, the meteoroid radiates in the lines Ca II H, K 393, 397 nm, Fe I 382, 405 nm, Mg I 517 nm, Na I 589 nm, as well as atmospheric O I 779 nm.

Keywords: space intrusions; methods: observational; processing techniques: photometric; objects: meteors


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