CCNet DIGEST 9 July 1998

      CNN Interactive

     Dave Tholen <tholen@galileo.IfA.Hawaii.Edu>

      Petr Pravec <>

      Jiri Borovicka <>


     J.A.M. McDonnell & D.J. Gardner, UNIVERSITY OF KENT


From CNN Interactive
Impact zone of giant meteorite confirmed
(DR Online) -- Following microscopic analysis of snow-samples taken
last week, the impact zone of the giant meteorite that hit southern
Greenland last December has been located.
Last week, astronomer Holger Pedersen and geophysicist Torben Risbo of
the University of Copenhagen conducted a preliminary field
investigation on the southwestern Greenland ice cap.
Collecting snow samples by helicopter, they hoped to find traces of
meteorite dust left in the snow covering the glaciers. Some 40 samples
were taken along 3 different lines giving a very preliminary profile of
the snow-masses covering the glacier, where they scientists hope to
find the meteorite -- If it did not evaporate during entry into the.
The samples were taken to the Laboratory of the Arctic Station at
Qeqertarsuaq, Greenland, for microscopic analysis by Risbo and revealed
definite signs of meteoritic substance. Sub-millimeter size particles
that look like round brown glass, with little tails of glass trailing
behind them, were found. Other particles seem to give clues as to the
crystal-structure of the meteorite, but this can't be confirmed until
analysis has been conducted with an electron microscope.
A major field expedition on foot and by helicopter into the impact zone
planned for the end of this month may have to be pushed forward. It now
seems important to collect a much bigger amount of snow samples in
order to narrow down the area to be investigated. Also it can't be
ruled out that the meteorite, big as it was, completely evaporated
during entry, and therefore the only traces will be just dust.
Copyright 1998 CNN


From Dave Tholen <tholen@galileo.IfA.Hawaii.Edu>


Duncan Steel has already brought up the subject of a class name for
objects with orbits interior to the Earth's.  To be sure, we've already
given that subject some thought.  I also wanted a word that begins with
the letter "A", but there was some desire to work Hawaiian culture into
it.  I consulted with a friend of mine that has a master's degree in
the Hawaiian language, and she recommended "Apohele", the Hawaiian word
for "orbit".  I found that an interesting suggestion, because of the
similarity to fragments of "apoapsis" and "helios", and these objects
would have their apoapsis closer to the Sun than the Earth's orbit.  By
the way, the pronunciation would be like "ah-poe-hey-lay".  Rob
Whiteley has suggested "Ali`i", which refers to the Hawaiian elite,
which provides a rich bank of names for discoveries in this class, such
as Kuhio, Kalakaua, Kamehameha, Liliuokalani, and so on. 
Unfortunately, I think the okina (the reverse apostrophe) would be
badly treated by most people.

I wasn't planning to bring it up at this stage, but because Duncan has
already done so, here's what we've got on the table so far. I'd
appreciate some feedback on the suggestions.



From Petr Pravec <>
Dear Dr Peiser,

First of all, I congratulate you and your wife on the birth of your
child. I can imagine well how you feel as I enjoyed the birth of my
daughter a half year ago.
I would like to draw your attention to our paper "Occultation/eclipse
events in binary asteroid 1991 VH" that recently appeared in Icarus [1].
You perhaps passed it over as unrelated to NEOs, although the opposite
is true. If you need me to provide the abstract, please, let me know.
I also want to add a basic information about the Ondrejov NEO Program.
As Gerhard Hahn (CCNet Digest 03/07/98) and Jana Ticha (CCNet Digest
06/07/98) have already mentioned, there are important European efforts
in the fields of NEO search and astrometric follow-up at the Observatoire
de la Cote d'Azur (France) and the Klet Observatory (Czech Republic),
respectively. The Ondrejov Observatory (also in the Czech Republic)
is another professional station in Europe contributing to NEO
observations. The primary aim of the Ondrejov NEO Program is to do a
photometric (mainly lightcurve) follow-up for a large number of NEOs.
Results of our photometric observations made during 1994-97 for as much
as 51 NEAs have appeared or will appear soon in Icarus and other journals,
for 38 of them deriving their rotational periods for the first time,
in several cases combining our data with those by others.
(See [2], [3], [4], [5] and [6] for some of the relevant papers where
I am the first author.) Adding unpublished periods for some 15 NEAs recently
observed from our station, we are approaching a goal of doubling the sample
of NEAs rotational periods known so far. The probable detection of the
binary nature of the Apollo asteroid 1991 VH (see the previous paragraph)
is one of the most important recent results of our program. I can say that
currently we are probably the leading station in the lightcurve follow-up
work on NEAs.
Although the lightcurve observations of NEAs are the primary aim of
the Ondrejov NEO Program, we also do an astrometric follow-up of NEOs
whenever our photometric schedule allows. I do not count exact numbers of
our positions that were published on the MPCs, but others do and appreciate
our astrometric effort. For example, in 1997 we measured 3870 positions
of asteroids (not only NEAs), that placed us at the 9th position among
all stations over the world (S. Nakano, report on recent activities).
The Ondrejov NEO astrometric follow-up effort has been appreciated
by Brian Marsden of the MPC several times since its start in 1992
(last time in CCNet DIGEST 11/05/98) and Eleanor Helin (by naming
the minor planet 4790 Petrpravec; see the citation on MPC 30095-30096).
Not bad results for it being our secondary program, is it?
The success of the Ondrejov NEO Program was achieved through a team work
of our group consisting of Marek Wolf (of the Charles University Prague),
Lenka Sarounova and myself. We use the 0.65-m f/3.6 CCD telescope,
that is relatively small but it is dedicated to the NEO program
and therefore we can use it for as much observing time as weather
conditions allow. Additional information can be found on the URL (although I should update the
page soon). We believe to keep up the good work of the photometric
and astrometric follow-up of NEOs also in the future. We also have a
plan to build a dedicated 1.5-m NEO follow-up telescope; if we get
a support for it, both our photometric and astrometric efforts
will be even strengthened.
Best wishes,
Petr Pravec
Ondrejov Observatory
[1] Pravec, P., M. Wolf, L. Sarounova 1998. Occultation/eclipse events
         in binary asteroid 1991 VH. Icarus 133, 79-88.
[2] Pravec, P., M. Wolf, M. Varady, and P. Barta 1995. CCD photometry
        of 6 near-Earth asteroids. Earth Moon Planets 71, 177-187.
[3] Pravec, P., L. Sarounova, and M. Wolf 1996. Lightcurves of 7 near-Earth
        asteroids. Icarus 124, 471-482.
[4] Pravec, P. M. Wolf, L. Sarounova, A. W. Harris, and J. K. Davies 1997.
        Spin vector, shape and size of the Amor asteroid (6053) 1993
        BW3. Icarus 127, 441-451.
[5] Pravec, P., M. Wolf, L. Sarounova, S. Mottola, A. Erikson, G. Hahn,
      A. W. Harris, A. W. Harris, and J. W. Young 1997. The near-Earth 
     objects follow-up program II. Results for 8 asteroids from 1982 to 1995.
      Icarus 130, 275-286.
[6] Pravec, P., M. Wolf, and L. Sarounova 1998. Lightcurves of 26 near-Earth
        asteroids. Icarus, in press.


From Jiri Borovicka <>

Dear Dr. Peiser,
Although I am not a member of the CC DIGEST conference, I have seen
several numbers. I guess that the article we published recently in the
Astronomy & Astrophysics together with four co-authors could be
interesting for the subscribers of the CC DIGEST. I have attached the
abstract below for distribution on the network.

Jiri Borovicka
Ondrejov Observatory
Astron. Astrophys. 334, 713-728 (1998)
Bolides produced by impacts of large meteoroids into the Earth's
atmosphere: comparison of theory with observations I. Benesov bolide
dynamics and fragmentation
J. Borovicka(1), O.P. Popova(2), I.V. Nemtchinov(2), P. Spurny(1) and
Z. Ceplecha(1)
(1) Ondejov Observatory, Astronomical Institute of the Academy of
Sciences, CZ-251 65 Ondejov, Czech Republic
(2) Institute for Dynamics of Geospheres, Russian Academy of Sciences,
Leninsky pr. 38, build. 6, 117979 Moscow, Russia
Received 23 September 1997 / Accepted 12 January 1998
Detailed analysis of one of the largest and well documented bolides -
the Benesov bolide (EN 070591) - has been performed. The bolide had an
initial velocity of 21 km s-1, reached a maximal absolute magnitude of
-19.5 at the altitude of 24 km and radiated down to 17 km. Detailed
photographic data for the light curve, geometry and dynamics of the
main body and several fragments are available. This enabled us to test
the theoretical radiative-hydrodynamic model used previously for the
analysis of satellite-detected bolides.
The conventional analysis produces a huge discrepancy between the
dynamic (80-300 kg) and photometric (5000-13,000 kg) mass. The
discrepancy might be removed assuming a low density of 0.5 g cm-3 but
this is unrealistic. The radiative-hydrodynamic modeling yielded a mass
of 2000 kg and density of 1-2 g cm-3. However, the dynamics was not
sufficiently well reproduced.
There is direct observational evidence of meteoroid fragmentation at
altitudes of 38-31 km and of catastrophic disruption at 24 km. These,
however, do not explain the problem with the mass. The crucial point is
that the bolide was significantly decelerated already at the altitudes
between 50-40 km, while enormous luminosity was produced below 40 km.
We suggest that the meteoroid must have been fragmented into 10-30
pieces of a mass of 100-300 kg already at an altitude of 60-50 km. By
creating a progressive fragmentation model with two types of
fragmentation at three different altitude levels, we were able to
reproduce the dynamics and luminosity sufficiently well. The best
estimate of the initial mass is 3000-4000 kg for a density of 2 g cm-3.
The comparison with the bolide PN 39434 suggests that the behavior of
Benesov is typical for large stony meteoroids. Early fragmentation
under dynamic pressures of the order of 1 Mdyn cm-2 is very important.
The analysis of the light curve with the radiative-hydrodynamic model
can give good order-of-magnitude estimates of mass, if no dynamic data
are available.
Send offprint requests to: J. Borovicka, (

European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1998


E.V. Ryan*) & H.J. Melosh: Impact fragmentation: From the laboratory to
asteroids. ICARUS, 1998, Vol.133, No.1, pp.1-24


In this paper, we study the effect of target size on the fragmentation
outcome of rock targets using a 2D numerical hydrocode. After comparing
our hydrocode calculations to laboratory data (including explosive
disruption experiments) to validate the results, we use the code to
calculate how the critical specific energy (Q*) needed to
catastrophically fracture a body varies with target size in the regimes
not accessible to experiment. Impact velocity is generally kept
constant at about 2.0 km s(-1), although some higher velocity (similar
to 5 km s(-1)) simulations were run to determine a velocity dependence
for the fragmentation outcome. To reflect the asteroid population,
target diameters range from 10 cm to 1000 km, spanning the regimes
where strength and self-gravity (radially varying lithostatic stress)
each dominate resistance to fragmentation. We find that there is a
significant difference in fragmentation outcome when the lithostatic
stress is included in the computations. As expected, surface layers
fragment more easily, while the strength of the central regions
is greatly enhanced. We derive the Q* versus size relationship for
three materials, (basalt, strong-, and weak-cement mortar) each having
different static compressive strengths and representing a range of
asteroid materials. The hydrocode results showed that Q*
decreased with increasing target size in the strength regime,
with slopes of 0.43, 0.59, and 0.6 for basalt, strong and weak
mortar, respectively. This decrease is directly related to the 
decrease in strain rate as target size grows. In the gravity regime, Q*
increases with increasing target size, with a slope equal to 2.6 for
all three of the materials modeled. These values are much steeper than
those previously derived from scaling theories. Ejecta velocity
distributions as a function of target size are examined as well. For
large bodies, resultant ejecta speeds tend to be well below escape
velocity, implying that these asteroids are likely to be reaccumulated
rubble piles. In simulating the creation of the asteroid family Eos, we
find that the code-calculated fragment size distribution is similar in
character to the observed data, but secondary fragment sizes are
significantly underestimated. More importantly, the determined ejecta
speeds were too low for these fragments to have achieved escape
velocity, and thus we fail to actually form the separate bodies
comprising the Eos family, and are left instead with a single rubble
pile conglomerate. (C) 1998 Academic Press.


J.A.M. McDonnell & D.J. Gardner: Meteoroid morphology and densities:
Decoding satellite impact data. ICARUS, 1998, Vol.133, No.1, pp.25-35


The densities of interplanetary micrometeoroids have been inferred by
various techniques in the past; a valuable (albeit indirect) technique
has been the study of the deceleration profile of radar meteor trails,
for example. Impacts on the thin foils of the Micro-Abrasion Package on
NASA's LDEF satellite and the Timeband Capture Cell Experiment on ESA's
Eureca satellite now provide direct in situ measurement of the
cross-sections diameters of impacting micrometeoroids and also of space
debris particles. Combining these data with impact data from
thick-target impact craters, where the damage is mass-dependent, and
where such targets have experienced a statistically identical flux,
leads to a measure of the impactor density which is only weakly
affected by the assumed impact velocity. Comparing the space result
with those from simulations shows that the density distribution of
interplanetary particles in space has a more significant low density
component than the distributions obtained by most other recent methods
and that the mean density is in the range 2.0 to 2.4 g cm(-3) for
masses of 10(-15) to 10(-9) kg. The characteristic density - namely,
the single value which would characterize the impact behavior of the
distribution-is 1.58 cm(-3). Perforation profiles reveal that a large
fraction of the largest particles impacting the satellites are
nonspherical but that typical aspect ratios are mostly in the range
1.0-1.5. Flux distributions of the meteoroid population incident on the
Earth at satellite altitudes are derived in terms of mass and mean
diameter. (C) 1998 Academic Press.


P. Brown & J.Jones: Simulation of the formation and evolution of the
Perseid meteoroid stream. ICARUS, 1998, Vol.133, No.1, pp.36-68


Four major models of cometary meteoroid ejection are developed and used
to simulate plausible starting conditions for the formation of the
Perseid stream. Ln addition to these physical variants, three different
choices for initial meteoroid density (100, 800, and 4000 kg m(-3)) are
used to produce a total of 12 distinct initial models. The development
and evolution of the stream are simulated for each model by ejecting
10(4) test meteoroids at seven distinct mass categories over the full
are of 109P's orbit inside 4 AU at each perihelion passage from 59 to
1862 AD. All test meteoroids are followed to their descending nodes for
times closest to the recent perihelion passage of 109P (1992). In
addition to these integrations, we have also performed long term
integrations over the interval from 5000 to 10(5) years ago using two
plausible sets of starting orbits for 109P over this interval. We find
that the choice of cone angle and precise cutoff distance for ejection
make only minor modifications to the overall structure of the stream as
seen from Earth. The assumed density for the meteoroids has a major
influence on the present activity of the stream as radiation pressure
moves nodal points further outside Earth's orbit and hence decreases
the probability of delivery for lower density meteoroids. The initial
ejection velocities strongly influence the final distributions observed
from Earth for the first approximate to 5 revolutions after ejection,
at which point planetary perturbations and radiation effects become
more important to subsequent development. The minimum distance between
the osculating orbit of 109P at the epoch of ejection and the Earth's
orbit is the principal determinant of subsequent delivery of meteoroids
to the Earth. The best fit to the observed present flux location and
peak strengths are found from models using Jones (1995) ejection
velocity algorithm with an r(-05) dependence and densities between (0.1
and 0.8 g cm(-3). The recent activity outburst maxims observed for the
Perseids from 1989 to present show a systematic shift in location from
year to year, which is explained by changing ages of the primary
component of the meteoroids malting up the outbursts. Specifically, it
is found that from 1988 to 1990 ejecta from 1610 and 1737 are the
dominant population, while 1862 and 1610 are the primary material
encountered in the outbursts from 1991to 1994. From 1995 to 1997 the
most prevalent populations are ejections from 1479 and 1079. The older
populations tend to shift the locations of the maximums to higher solar
longitudes. A discrepancy which is present for both the 1993 and 1994
peak locations of 1-2 h between the observed and modeled flux profiles
is most likely the result of emissions from 1862, which were observed
to have a large component of their velocity out of the cometary orbital
plane. The cause of Perseid activity outbursts is found to be direct
planetary gravitational perturbations from Jupiter and Saturn that
shift the nodes of stream meteoroids inward and allow them to collide
with Earth. The last such perturbations was due to Jupiter in 1991, and
this effect combined with the return of 109P in 1992 produced the
strong displays from 1991 to 1994. On average, it is found that the
Perseids observed each year in the core portion of the stream left the
parent comet (25 +/- 10) x 10(3) years ago. From the modeling, the
total age of the stream is estimated to be on the order of 10(5) years.
From the simulations over the last 2000 years, the progression rate of
the node of the stream is estimated at (2.2 +/- 0.2) x 10(-4)
degrees/annum. The effect of terrestrial perturbations has been
evaluated from the long-term integrations and found to play only a
minor role in the stream's development, producing a 5-10% increase in
the stream's nodal and radiant spread as compared to an identical
simulation without the Earth. The primary sinks for the stream are
found to be hyperbolic ejection due to Jupiter land to a smaller degree
Saturn) as well as attainment of sungrazing states. Both the relative
and absolute contributions of these two loss mechanisms to the decay of
the stream is found to be highly dependent on the assumed cometary
starting orbits, with as much as 35% of initially released stream
meteoroids removed by hyperbolic ejection after 10(5) years for the
smallest Perseids on some starting orbits to less than 1% removed after
the same time for larger meteoroids on other potential seed orbits. On
average, it requires 40-80 x 10(3) years for a noticeable fraction of 
the initial population (>0.1%) to be removed by these mechanisms,
depending on the chosen starting orbits. (C) 1998 Academic Press.

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