Determining the population of large meteoroids in major meteor showersOPEN ACCESS 

K.S. Wisniewski, P.G. Brown, D.E. Moser, R. Longenbaugh

Available online 9 May 2024, 116118


Update (10 May 2024): LINK (OPEN ACCESS)


  • GLM has the unique ability to detect fireballs from a space-based perspective.
  • This is a new observational method to complement existing observation techniques.
  • From the data of a fireball event, a photometric mass estimate can be computed.
  • Provides mass information for the larger shower-related fireballs.
  • Flux estimations using GLM compared to existing fits agreed well.”

“We have estimated the largest meteoroids present in major meteor showers from observations conducted between 2019-2022 by the Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) instrument on the GOES-R satellites. Our integrated time area products for the Leonids, Perseids and eta Aquariids are of order 5 × 1010 km hours. We compute photometric masses for shower fireballs using the approach of Vojáček et al. (2022) to correct from narrow-band GLM luminosity to bolometric luminosity and apply the luminous efficiency relation of Ceplecha & McCrosky (1976) at high speeds. Between 2019 and 2022, the showers definitely observed by GLM were the Leonids, Perseids, and eta Aquariids, with probable detections of the Orionids and Taurids. We find the largest meteoroids to be of order 7 kg for the Leonids, 3 kg for the Perseids, and 3 kg for the eta Aquariids, corresponding to meteoroids of 0.2 m diameter. The Orionids and Taurids had maximum meteoroid masses of 4 kg and 150 kg respectively. The Leonids and eta Aquariids are well fit by a single power-law with differential mass exponent, s, of 2.08 ± 0.08 and 2.00 ± 0.09 over the mass range 10−7 m 1 kg. All showers had maximum meteoroid masses compatible with Whipple gas-drag ejection, with the exception of the Perseids which have much larger meteoroids than expected a result also consistent with observations from ground based instruments. This may reflect preferential ejection in narrow jets or possibly some form of mantle erosion/release in the past for the parent comet, 109P/Swift-Tuttle.”