Mid-Infrared Spectroscopy of Persistent Leonid Trains

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The first infrared spectroscopy in the 3–13 micron region has been obtained of several persistent Leonid meteor trains with two different instrument types, one at a desert ground-based site and the other on-board a high-flying aircraft. The spectra exhibit common structures assigned to enhanced emissions of warm CH4, CO2, CO and H2O, which may originate from heated trace air compounds or materials created in the wake of the meteor. This is the first time that any of these molecules has been observed in the spectra of persistent trains. Hence, the mid-IR observations offer a new perspective on the physical processes that occur in the path of the meteor at some time after the meteor itself has passed by. Continuum emission is observed also, but its origin has not yet been established. No 10 micron dust emission feature has been observed.

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