Spectra and physical properties of Taurid meteoroids

Pavol Matlovič, Juraj Tóth, Regina Rudawska, Leonard Kornoš

Planetary and Space Science
In Press, Accepted Manuscript, Available online 13 February 2017


• The widest spectral classification of Taurid meteors to date is presented.
• Cometary origin with high heterogeneity of Taurid meteoroids is proposed based on determined physical and spectral properties.
• Found heterogeneities could be caused by the presence of carbonaceous inclusions in Taurid meteoroids.
• Orbital similarities of 2015 Taurid meteors to several associated asteroids are confirmed.”

“Taurids are an extensive stream of particles produced by comet 2P/Encke, which can be observed mainly in October and November as a series of meteor showers rich in bright fireballs. Several near-Earth asteroids have also been linked with the meteoroid complex, and recently the orbits of two carbonaceous meteorites were proposed to be related to the stream, raising interesting questions about the origin of the complex and the composition of 2P/Encke. Our aim is to investigate the nature and diversity of Taurid meteoroids by studying their spectral, orbital, and physical properties determined from video meteor observations. Here we analyze 33 Taurid meteor spectra captured during the predicted outburst in November 2015 by stations in Slovakia and Chile, including 14 multi-station observations for which the orbital elements, material strength parameters, dynamic pressures, and mineralogical densities were determined. It was found that while orbits of the 2015 Taurids show similarities with several associated asteroids, the obtained spectral and physical characteristics point towards cometary origin with highly heterogeneous content. Observed spectra exhibited large dispersion of iron content and significant Na intensity in all cases. The determined material strengths are typically cometary in the KB classification, while PE criterion is on average close to values characteristic for carbonaceous bodies. The studied meteoroids were found to break up under low dynamic pressures of 0.02 – 0.10 MPa, and were characterized by low mineralogical densities of 1.3 – 2.5 g cm−3. The widest spectral classification of Taurid meteors to date is presented.”