Ablation of small iron meteoroids – first results

David Čapek, Jiří Borovička

Planetary and Space Science
In Press, Accepted Manuscript, Available online 8 March 2017


“A population of faint meteors with low velocities, and low beginning heights have been described by Borovička et al. (2005) and Campbell-Brown (2015). They have only iron lines in their spectra. Most of them have unusual light curves that can not be explained by classical single body ablation theory or by fragmentation models. We developed a model which considers iron meteoroids and three different processes of the ablation. The comparison of theoretical and observed meteor heights and light curves leads to the conclusions that (i) vaporization of the liquid from the surface of the meteoroid is too slow a process and it is not able to explain the majority of the observed meteors. (ii) Breakup of the liquid drop would not occur at all or occur at heights which are too low. (iii) The immediate removal of the liquid from the meteoroid’s surface and fast release of its kinetic energy is the most probable process leading to the observed meteors. This scenario predicts similar heights, lenghts, and light curves as observed meteors.”