EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 365, Number 3, January III 2001
Page(s) 612 - 621
Section The Sun
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20000154

A&A 365, 612-621 (2001)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20000154

On the atmospheric fragmentation of small asteroids

L. Foschini

Institute TeSRE -CNR, Via Gobetti 101, 40129 Bologna, Italy

(Received 22 August 2000 / Accepted 18 October 2000)

It is known, from observational data recorded from airbursts, that small asteroids breakup at dynamical pressures lower than their mechanical strength. This means that actual theoretical models are inconsistent with observations. In this paper, we present a detailed discussion about data recorded from airbursts and about several theoretical models. We extend and improve a theory previously outlined for the fragmentation of small asteroids in the Earth atmosphere. The new condition for fragmentation is given by the shock wave-turbulence interaction, which results in sudden outburst of the dynamical pressure.

Key words: minor planets, asteroids -- plasmas -- shock waves

Offprint request: L. Foschini, foschini@tesre.bo.cnr.it

© ESO 2001