A study to improve the past orbit of comet C/1917 F1 (Mellish) on the basis of its observed meteor showers
1 Astronomical Institute, Slovak Academy of Science, 05960 Tatranská Lomnica, Slovakia
2 IMCCE, 77 Av. Denfert Rochereau, 75014 Paris, France
3 Astronomical Institute, Slovak Academy of Science, Dúbravská cesta 9, 84504 Bratislava, Slovakia
Received: 8 October 2015
Accepted: 8 February 2016
Context. Periodic comets are known to be the parent bodies of meteoroid streams. The stream of a given comet can split into several filaments. These can be observed in the Earth’s atmosphere as more than just a single meteor shower. One such comet is C/1917 F1 (Mellish), which associates at least two, possibly four, meteor showers that have been recorded in the meteor databases. In a recent study, the dynamical evolution of the C/1917 F1’s theoretical stream was followed by only considering the gravitational perturbations. The properties of individual filaments of this stream, corresponding to the appropriate meteor showers, were not predicted perfectly.
Aims. To reach better agreement between theory and observation, we repeatedly model the theoretical stream of C/1917 F1. In the modeling, we also include the Poynting-Robertson drag acting on meteoroids and assume an action of the non-gravitational effects on the parent comet dynamics. If success was achieved, the modeling could become a tool that would enable us to recover the past orbital history of the parent comet.
Methods. Considering the nominal orbit, as well as several cloned orbits, of the comet C/1917 F1, we modeled its theoretical streams. The modeling was performed for several past perihelion passages. Each modeled stream consists of 10 000 test particles that are influenced by the Poynting-Robertson drag of various strengths.
Results. We achieve a partial improvement in the prediction of the properties of all four meteor showers. The Poynting-Robertson drag helps to improve the match between the theory and observation of three of the four showers. However, when considering the nominal orbit of the parent comet, a perfect match seems to be impossible. A close match in the case of the most problematic shower is achieved using a cloned orbit, but this is not applicable to reality because the simultaneous predictions of the properties of the other three showers fail.
Key words: comets: individual: C/1917 F1 (Mellish) / meteorites, meteors, meteoroids
© ESO, 2016