Buoyancy of the “Y2K” Persistent Train and the Trajectory of the 04:00:29 UT Leonid Fireball


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Abstract

The atmospheric trajectory is calculated of a particularly well studied fireball and train during the 1999 Leonid Multi-Instrument Aircraft Campaign. Less than a minute after the meteor's first appearance, the train curves into a “2”-shape, which persisted until at least 13 minutes after the fireball. We conclude that the shape results because of horizontal winds from gravity waves with a scale height of 8.3 km at 79–91 km altitude, as well as a westerly wind gradient with altitude. In addition, there is downward drift that affects the formation of loops in the train early on.

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