Volume 641, September 2020
|Number of page(s)||16|
|Section||Planets and planetary systems|
|Published online||16 September 2020|
A self-consistent method for the simulation of meteor trails with an application to radio observations
Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Research Group Electrochemical and Surface Engineering,
2 von Karman Institute for Fluid Dynamics, Aeronautics and Aerospace Dept., Waterloosesteenweg 72, 1640 St.-Genesius-Rode, Belgium
3 Politecnico di Milano, Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Aerospaziali, Via La Masa 34, 20156 Milano, Italy
4 Université Catholique de Louvain, Inst. of Mechanics, Materials and Civil Engineering, Place du Levant 2, 1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium
Accepted: 2 July 2020
Context. Radio-based techniques allow for a meteor detection of 24 h. Electromagnetic waves are scattered by the electrons produced by the ablated species colliding with the incoming air. As the electrons dissipate in the trail, the received signal decays. The interpretation of these measurements entails complex physical modelling of the flow.
Aims. In this work, we present a procedure to compute extensive meteor trails in the rarefied segment of the trajectory. This procedure is a general and standalone methodology, which provides meteor physical parameters at given trajectory conditions, without the need to rely on phenomenological lumped models.
Methods. We started from fully kinetic simulations of the evaporated gas that describe the nonequilibrium in the flow and the ionisation collisions experienced by metals in their encounter with air molecules. These simulations were employed as initial conditions for performing detailed chemical and multicomponent diffusion calculations of the extended trail, in order to study the processes which lead to the extinction of the plasma. In particular, we focused on the evolution of the trail generated by a 1 mm meteoroid flying at 32 km s−1, above 80 km. We retrieved the ambipolar diffusion coefficient and the electron line density and compared the outcome of our computations with classical results and observational fittings. Finally, the electron field was employed to estimate the resulting reflected signal, using classical radio-echo theory for underdense meteors.
Results. A global and constant diffusion coefficient is sufficient to reproduce numerical profiles. A good agreement is found when we compare the extracted diffusion coefficients with theory and observations.
Key words: meteorites, meteors, meteoroids / methods: numerical / plasmas / scattering
© ESO 2020
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