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Originally posted by mars1
reply to post by sunny_2008ny
I find this a little strange there seems to be more fireballs of late are we going through a part of space where this will happen more than we are use to.
Originally posted by links234
We are heading out of the Geminid meteor area right now, that was attributed to this particular incident according to one site I read.
By far the most prevalent parent body of meteoroids, cometary meteoroids form about 95% of the total meteor population, and include nearly ALL of the shower meteor population. These parent bodies are composed of frozen methane (CH4), ammonia (NH3), water (H2O), and common gases (such as carbon dioxide, CO2), carbon dust and other trace materials. As a comet passes near the sun in its orbit, the outer surface exposed to sunlight is vaporized and ejected in spectacular jets and streams, freeing large amounts of loosely aggregated clumps of dust and other non-volatile materials.
These freshly generated cometary meteoroids, often called "dustballs" will roughly continue to follow the orbit of the parent comet, and will form a meteoroid stream.
Based upon photographic fireball studies, cometary meteoroids have extremely low densities, about 0.8 grams/cc for class IIIA fireballs, and 0.3 grams/cc for class IIIB fireballs. This composition is very fragile and vaporizes so readily when entering the atmosphere, that it is called "friable" material. These meteoroids have virtually no chance of making it to the ground unless an extremely large piece of the comet enters the atmosphere, in which case it would very likely explode at some point in its flight, due to mechanical and thermal stresses.
We also know that these small particles - especially the
ones which come from the meteor showers - are usually NOT
very dense. Instead of thinking of them as little rocks or
sand grains, the best analogy for them seems to be "Cosmic
Dustbunnies", or even "Celestial Cotton Candy".
Because of the the small size and low density of meteor-
shower meteors - even the very brightest ones - it's no
small wonder that a meteorite has NEVER been definitely
associated with a meteor shower! Instead, the kind of large,
hard, dense matter that could survive earth's atmosphere is
generally theorized to come from some where else - most
likely, the rocky "asteroids" between the planets.
When Phaethon passes by the sun it doesn't develop a cometary tail, but bits and pieces do break off to form the Geminid meteoroids. By studying photographic records of fireballs, scientists have estimated the density of the Geminid meteoroids to be between 1 and 2 gm/cc. That's less dense than typical asteroid material (3 gm/cc), but several times denser than cometary dust flakes (0.3 gm/cc). Many astronomers now believe that Phaethon is an extinct or dormant comet that has accumulated a thick crust of interplanetary dust grains. Phaethon's thick mantle gives it the outward appearance of an asteroid, but underneath lies the nucleus of a comet.
Utah scientists on Wednesday said it's likely a meteor associated with the annual Leonid meteor shower.