Taurid Stream #628: A Reservoir of Large Cometary ImpactorsOPEN ACCESS 

Hadrien A. R. Devillepoix, Peter Jenniskens, Philip A. Bland, Eleanor K. Sansom, Martin C. Towner, Patrick Shober, Martin Cupák, Robert M. Howie, Benjamin A. D. Hartig, Seamus Anderson, Trent Jansen-Sturgeon and Jim Albers

The Planetary Science Journal, Volume 2, Number 6


“The Desert Fireball Network observed a significant outburst of fireballs belonging to the Southern Taurid Complex of meteor showers between 2015 October 27 and November 17. At the same time, the Cameras for Allsky Meteor Surveillance project detected a distinct population of smaller meteors belonging to the irregular IAU shower #628, the s-Taurids. While this returning outburst was predicted and observed in previous work, the reason for this stream is not yet understood. 2015 was the first year that the stream was precisely observed, providing an opportunity to better understand its nature. We analyze the orbital elements of stream members and establish a size–frequency distribution from millimeter to meter size range. The stream is highly stratified with a large change of entry speed along Earth’s orbit. We confirm that the meteoroids have orbital periods near the 7:2 mean motion resonance with Jupiter. The mass distribution of this population is dominated by larger meteoroids, unlike that for the regular Southern Taurid shower. The distribution index is consistent with a gentle collisional fragmentation of weak material. A population of meter-sized objects is identified from satellite observations at a rate consistent with a continuation of the size–frequency distribution established at centimeter size. The observed change of longitude of perihelion among the s-Taurids points to recent (a few centuries ago) activity from fragmentation involving surviving asteroid 2015 TX24. This supports a model for the Taurid Complex showers that involves an ongoing fragmentation cascade of comet 2P/Encke siblings following a breakup some 20,000 yr ago.”