Meteor Outburst Profiles and Cometary Ejection Models

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Abstract

The spatial structure of meteor streams, and the activity profiles of their corresponding meteor showers, depend firstly on the distribution of meteoroid orbits soon after ejection from the parent comet nucleus, and secondly on the subsequent dynamical evolution. The latter increases in importance as more time elapses. For younger structures within streams, notably the dust trails that cause sharp meteor outbursts, it is the cometary ejection model (meteoroid production rate as a function of time through the several months of the comet's perihelion return, and velocity distribution of the meteoroids released) that primarily determines the shape and width of the trail structure. This paper describes how a trail cross section can be calculated once an ejection model has been assumed. Such calculations, if made for a range of ejection model parameters and compared with observed parameters of storms and outbursts, can be used to constrain quantitatively the process of meteoroid ejection from the nucleus, including the mass distribution of ejected meteoroids.

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